Androgen receptors in coeliac ganglion in late pregnant rat

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The ovarian function is controlled by endocrine factors and neural influence. In late pregnant rat, androstenedione, from the coeliac ganglion, has a luteotrophic effect in the ex vivo coeliac ganglion-superior ovarian nerve–ovary system. In this work we investigate the presence of androgen receptors in the coeliac ganglion of late pregnant rats by immunohistochemistry. We also explore, from a physiological point of view, the potential participation of these receptors in the androstenedione ganglionic action on progesterone release and metabolism, as well as on nitrites release in the ovary compartment. The coeliac ganglion was isolated after being fixed in situ and immunohistochemistry was performed. In the system, three experimental groups were used with the addition of (a) androstenedione, (b) flutamide, and (c) androstenedione plus flutamide in the ganglion compartment. Progesterone and nitrite concentrations were determined in the ovary compartment at different incubation times. Corpora lutea samples isolated at the end of incubation were used to determine the expressions and activities of the progesterone synthesis (3β-hydroxysteroid-dehydrogenase, 3β-HSD) and degradation (20α-hydroxysteroid-dehydrogenase, 20α-HSD) enzymes. Immunohistochemistry revealed cytoplasmatic androgen receptor immunoreactivity in neural somas in the coeliac ganglion. In the coeliac ganglion-superior ovarian nerve–ovary system, androstenedione addition increased 3β-HSD and decreased 20α-HSD, showed a tendency to decrease 20α-HSD expression, and increased nitrites release in relation to control. Androstenedione plus flutamide decreased progesterone and nitrites release in relation to the androstenedione group. This work demonstrates the presence of androgen receptors in neurons of celiac ganglion and provides evidence for the luteotrophic action of androstenedione via a neural pathway that may be mediated by these receptors.

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