Androgen receptor expression in satellite cells of the neonatal levator ani of the rat

Authors

  • Ashlyn Swift-Gallant,

    Corresponding author
    • Department of Psychology, University of Toronto at Mississauga, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
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  • D. Ashley Monks

    1. Department of Psychology, University of Toronto at Mississauga, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
    2. Department of Cell and Systems Biology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    3. Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    4. Department of Neuroscience, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Correspondence to: D.A. Monks. E-mail: ashley.monks@utoronto.ca

Abstract

Androgens are thought to mediate sexual differentiation of spinal nucleus of the bulbocavernosus (SNB) motoneurons via actions on androgen receptors (ARs) within their target muscles bulbocavernosus and levator ani (LA). However, the cells within these muscles which mediate masculinization of the SNB remain undefined. Until recently, myocytes were thought to be the most likely candidate cell type. However, genetic tests of AR function in myocytes have failed to support a sufficient role for these cells in producing masculine SNB morphology, suggesting the involvement of other cell types. To identify other candidate cell types in the LA, we evaluated whether satellite cells or fibroblasts express AR. Fluorescent immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy were used to evaluate whether satellite cells and fibroblasts express AR in neonatal male and female rats in the LA and an adjacent sexually monomorphic control muscle (CM). We found that a small proportion of satellite cells in the LA express AR and that this proportion is significantly greater in the LA compared to the CM. No sex differences were found between the proportions of satellite cells expressing AR in either muscle. Less colocalization of satellite cells and AR was seen in postnatal day 3 muscle than in postnatal day 1 muscle. In contrast, only negligible amounts of fibroblasts labeled with S100A4 express AR in either the LA or the CM. Together, findings support satellite cells, but not fibroblasts, as a candidate cell type involved in the sexual differentiation of the SNB neuromuscular system. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Develop Neurobiol 73: 448–454, 2013.

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