Histochemistry and Cell Biology

, Volume 127, Issue 4, pp 423–432 | Cite as

Expression of androgen receptor and its co-localization with estrogen receptor-alpha in the developing pituitary gland of sheep fetus

  • XueJun Yuan
  • YuQin He
  • JiaLi Liu
  • HaoShu Luo
  • JinHua Zhang
  • Sheng Cui
Original Paper


No information is known concerning the expression of androgen receptor (AR) and its co-localization with estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) in the developing pituitary of sheep fetus. In the present study, we detected AR expression and its co-localization with ERα in the anterior pituitary of sheep fetus from day 60 of gestation to the postnatal by dual immunochemistry. The results showed that both AR immunoreactivity (AR-ir) and ERα immunoreactivity (ERα-ir) were predominantly localized in the nuclei of LH positive gonadotropes. The cell counting results showed that the percentage of the anterior pituitary cells expressing AR fluctuated from 13.51 ± 0.92 to 17.05 ± 1.83% during the examined stages, but there were no significant differences between sexes and among ages examined (P > 0.05). However, the proportion of AR-ir cells containing LH markedly increased from day 60 of gestation to the neonatal (P < 0.05). The percentage of AR-ir cells expressing ERα-ir significantly increased from day 60 of gestation to the neonatal, respectively (P < 0.05), but no significant differences were seen between genders at each stage examined. These results indicate that both AR and ERα are mainly expressed in the gonadotropes of anterior pituitary gland of sheep fetuses, whereas the functions and interaction of AR and ERα expressions in the developing pituitary gland are required to be elucidated further.


Immunohistochemistry AR ERα Sheep fetus Pituitary 



This work was supported from grants of the Natural Science Foundation of Beijing (6042013) and the Natural Science Foundation of China (30325034, 30471264). We thank Prof. AS McNeilly (Centre for reproductive biology, Edinburgh, UK) for the kind gift of rabbit anti-ovine LH and PRL antibody. We also thank Professor GL Xia, Department of Animal Physiology, College of Biological Sciences, China Agricultural University, People’s Republic of China for reviewing the English manuscript. Anti-ovine GH, anti-ovine TSH and anti-human ACTH primary antibodies were obtained through the National Hormone and Peptide Program (NHPP), National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) & Dr Parlow (NHPP).

Supplementary material

418_2006_262_MOESM1_ESM.doc (520 kb)
ESM1 (DOC 520 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • XueJun Yuan
    • 1
    • 2
  • YuQin He
    • 3
  • JiaLi Liu
    • 1
  • HaoShu Luo
    • 1
  • JinHua Zhang
    • 1
  • Sheng Cui
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Animal Physiology, College of Biological SciencesChina Agricultural UniversityBeijingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.College of Biological SciencesShandong Agricultural UniversityTaianPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Gansu Agricultural UniversityLanzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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