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Abstract

Mammalian liver is known to contain cytosolic receptors for both estrogens and androgens. Furthermore, certain mammalian hepatic functions are known to display a sexual dimorphism. However, in clinical liver transplantation, the sex of the donor is not taken into consideration in selection of the donor. In this study, the effect of liver transplantation on the estrogen and androgen receptor content of the liver was determined.

Adult male and female rats were subjected to orthotopic liver transplantation, using donors form both the same and the opposite sex as the recipient. The animals were killed on the tenth postoperative day, and the livers were assayed to determine their cytosolic estrogen and androgen receptor content.

Transplantation of a liver from a male donor into a male recipient, from a male donor into female recipient and from a female donor into a male recipient produced similar changes in the number of cytosolic estrogen and androgen receptors in hepatic cytosol. In all three situations, the estrogen receptor content in the cytosol of the transplanted liver was the same as that found in an unoperated male liver, and the cytosolic content of the androgen receptor was the same as that of an unoperated female liver. After transplantation of the liver from a female donor into a female recipient, the estrogen and androgen receptor content in the cytosol of the transplanted liver was the same as that of an unoperated female. A consistent finding in this study was a reduction in the cytosolic androgen receptor activity of the transplanted liver when a male was either the recipient or donor. This reduction was maximal at 10 days posttransplantation. At 40 days following transplantation, a partial recovery in the androgen receptor acitivy of hepatic cytosol had occurred. These studies demonstrate that orthotopic liver transplantation changes the cytosolic content of both the estrogen and androgen receptors of the liver, and their ratios may have important effects during the immediate postoperative period and profound long-term consequences relative to gender differences in hepatic function.