Regional difference in sex steroid action on formation of morphological sex differences in the anteroventral periventricular nucleus and principal nucleus of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis.
ABSTRACT: Sex steroid action is critical to form sexually dimorphic nuclei, although it is not fully understood. We previously reported that masculinization of the principal nucleus of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNSTp), which is larger and has more neurons in males than in females, involves aromatized testosterone that acts via estrogen receptor-? (ER?), but not estrogen receptor-? (ER?). Here, we examined sex steroid action on the formation of the anteroventral periventricular nucleus (AVPV) that is larger and has more neurons in females. Morphometrical analysis of transgenic mice lacking aromatase, ER?, or ER? genes revealed that the volume and neuron number of the male AVPV were significantly increased by deletion of aromatase and ER? genes, but not the ER? gene. We further examined the AVPV and BNSTp of androgen receptor knockout (ARKO) mice. The volume and neuron number of the male BNSTp were smaller in ARKO mice than those in wild-type mice, while no significant effect of ARKO was found on the AVPV and female BNSTp. We also examined aromatase, ER?, and AR mRNA levels in the AVPV and BNSTp of wild-type and ARKO mice on embryonic day (ED) 18 and postnatal day (PD) 4. AR mRNA in the BNSTp and AVPV of wild-type mice was not expressed on ED18 and emerged on PD4. In the AVPV, the aromatase mRNA level was higher on ED18, although the ER? mRNA level was higher on PD4 without any effect of AR gene deletion. Aromatase and ER? mRNA levels in the male BNSTp were significantly increased on PD4 by AR gene deletion. These results suggest that estradiol signaling via ER? during the perinatal period and testosterone signaling via AR during the postnatal period are required for masculinization of the BNSTp, whereas the former is sufficient to defeminize the AVPV.
Project description:Estrogens are important for maintaining metabolic health in males. However, the key sources of local estrogen production for regulating energy metabolism have not been fully defined. Immune cells exhibit aromatase activity and are resident in metabolic tissues. To determine the relative contribution of immune cell-derived estrogens for metabolic health in males, C57BL6/J mice underwent bone marrow transplant with marrow from either wild-type (WT(WT)) or aromatase-deficient (WT(ArKO)) donors. Body weight, body composition, and glucose and insulin tolerance were assessed over 24 weeks with mice maintained on a regular chow diet. No differences were found in insulin sensitivity between groups, but WT(ArKO) mice were more glucose tolerant than WT(WT) mice 20 weeks after transplant, suggestive of enhanced glucose disposal (AUCglucose 6061±3349 in WT(WT) mice versus 3406±1367 in WT(ArKO) mice, p = 0.01). Consistent with this, skeletal muscle from WT(ArKO) mice showed higher expression of the mitochondrial genes Ppargc1a (p = 0.03) and Nrf1 (p = 0.01), as well as glucose transporter type 4 (GLUT4, Scl2a4; p = 0.02). Skeletal muscle from WT(ArKO) mice had a lower concentration of 17?-estradiol (5489±2189 pg/gm in WT(WT) mice versus 3836±2160 pg/gm in WT(ArKO) mice, p = 0.08) but higher expression of estrogen receptor-? (ER?, Esr1), raising the possibility that aromatase deficiency in immune cells led to a compensatory increase in ER? signaling. No differences between groups were found with regard to body weight, adiposity, or gene expression within adipose tissue or liver. Immune cells are a key source of local 17?-estradiol production and contribute to metabolic regulation in males, particularly within skeletal muscle. The respective intracrine and paracrine roles of immune cell-derived estrogens require further delineation, as do the pathways that regulate aromatase activity in immune cells specifically within metabolic tissues.
Project description:Aromatase catalyzes conversion of testosterone to estradiol and is expressed in a variety of tissues, including the brain. Suppression of aromatase adversely affects metabolism and physical activity behavior, but mechanisms remain uncertain. The hypothesis tested herein was that whole body aromatase deletion would cause gene expression changes in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), a brain regulating motivated behaviors such as physical activity, which is suppressed with loss of estradiol. Metabolic and behavioral assessments were performed in male and female wild-type (WT) and aromatase knockout (ArKO) mice. NAc-specific differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified with RNAseq, and associations between the measured phenotypic traits were determined. Female ArKO mice had greater percent body fat, reduced spontaneous physical activity (SPA), consumed less energy, and had lower relative resting energy expenditure (REE) than WT females. Such differences were not observed in ArKO males. However, in both sexes, a top DEG was Pts, a gene encoding an enzyme necessary for catecholamine (e.g., dopamine) biosynthesis. In comparing male and female WT mice, top DEGs were related to sexual development/fertility, immune regulation, obesity, dopamine signaling, and circadian regulation. SPA correlated strongly with Per3, a gene regulating circadian function, thermoregulation, and metabolism (r = -0.64, P = .002), which also correlated with adiposity (r = 0.54, P = .01). In conclusion, aromatase ablation leads to gene expression changes in NAc, which may in turn result in reduced SPA and related metabolic abnormalities. These findings may have significance to post-menopausal women and those treated with an aromatase inhibitor.
Project description:The male sex has a higher risk to develop coronary artery diseases, including atherosclerosis. The androgen receptor (AR) is expressed in several atherosclerosis-associated cell types, including monocytes/macrophages, endothelial cells (ECs), and smooth muscle cells (SMCs), but its pathophysiological role in each cell type during the development of atherosclerotic lesions remains unclear. Using the Cre-loxP system, we selectively knocked out AR in these 3 cell types and the resultant AR knockout (ARKO) mice, monocyte/macrophage ARKO, EC-ARKO, and SMC-ARKO, were then crossed with the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) deficient (LDLR(-/-)) mice to develop monocyte/macrophage ARKO-LDLR(-/-), EC-ARKO-LDLR(-/-), and SMC-ARKO-LDLR(-/-) mice for the study of atherosclerosis. The results showed that the monocyte/macrophage ARKO-LDLR(-/-) mice had reduced atherosclerosis compared with the wild-type-LDLR(-/-) control mice. However, no significant difference was detected in EC-ARKO-LDLR(-/-) and SMC-ARKO-LDLR(-/-) mice compared with wild-type-LDLR(-/-) mice, suggesting that the AR in monocytes/macrophages, and not in ECs and SMCs, plays a major role to promote atherosclerosis. Molecular mechanism dissection suggested that AR in monocytes/macrophages upregulated the tumor necrosis factor-?, integrin ?2, and lectin-type oxidized LDL receptor 1 molecules that are involved in 3 major inflammation-related processes in atherosclerosis, including monocytes/macrophages migration and adhesion to human umbilical vein ECs, and subsequent foam cell formation. Targeting AR via the AR degradation enhancer, ASC-J9, in wild-type-LDLR(-/-) mice showed similar effects as seen in monocyte/macrophage ARKO-LDLR(-/-) mice with little influence on lipid profile. In conclusion, the AR in monocytes/macrophages plays key roles in atherosclerosis and targeting AR with ASC-J9 may represent a new potential therapeutic approach to battle atherosclerosis.
Project description:Androgens have important cardiometabolic actions in males, but their metabolic role in females is unclear. To determine the physiologic androgen receptor (AR)-dependent actions of androgens on atherogenesis in female mice, we generated female AR-knockout (ARKO) mice on an atherosclerosis-prone apolipoprotein E (apoE)-deficient background. After 8 weeks on a high-fat diet, but not on a normal chow diet, atherosclerosis in aorta was increased in ARKO females (+59% vs. control apoE-deficient mice with intact AR gene). They also displayed increased body weight (+18%), body fat percentage (+62%), and hepatic triglyceride levels, reduced insulin sensitivity, and a marked atherogenic dyslipidemia (serum cholesterol, +52%). Differences in atherosclerosis, body weight, and lipid levels between ARKO and control mice were abolished in mice that were ovariectomized before puberty, consistent with a protective action of ovarian androgens mediated via the AR. Furthermore, the AR agonist dihydrotestosterone reduced atherosclerosis (-41%; thoracic aorta), subcutaneous fat mass (-44%), and cholesterol levels (-35%) in ovariectomized mice, reduced hepatocyte lipid accumulation in hepatoma cells in vitro, and regulated mRNA expression of hepatic genes pivotal for lipid homeostasis. In conclusion, we demonstrate that the AR protects against diet-induced atherosclerosis in female mice and propose that this is mediated by modulation of body composition and lipid metabolism.
Project description:<h4>Aims</h4>Studies in global androgen receptor knockout (G-ARKO) and orchidectomised mice suggest that androgen accelerates reperfusion of the ischaemic hindlimb by stimulating angiogenesis. This investigation used novel, vascular cell-specific ARKO mice to address the hypothesis that the impaired hindlimb reperfusion in G-ARKO mice was due to loss of AR from cells in the vascular wall.<h4>Methods and results</h4>Mice with selective deletion of AR (ARKO) from vascular smooth muscle cells (SM-ARKO), endothelial cells (VE-ARKO), or both (SM/VE-ARKO) were compared with wild type (WT) controls. Hindlimb ischaemia was induced in these mice by ligation and removal of the femoral artery. Post-operative reperfusion was reduced in SM-ARKO and SM/VE-ARKO mice. Immunohistochemistry indicated that this was accompanied by a reduced density of smooth muscle actin-positive vessels but no change in the density of isolectin B4-positive vessels in the gastrocnemius muscle. Deletion of AR from the endothelium (VE-ARKO) did not alter post-operative reperfusion or vessel density. In an ex vivo (aortic ring culture) model of angiogenesis, AR was not detected in vascular outgrowths and angiogenesis was not altered by vascular ARKO or by exposure to dihydrotestosterone (DHT 10(-10)-10(-7)M; 6 days).<h4>Conclusion</h4>These results suggest that loss of AR from vascular smooth muscle, but not from the endothelium, contributes to impaired reperfusion in the ischaemic hindlimb of G-ARKO. Impaired reperfusion was associated with reduced collateral formation rather than reduced angiogenesis.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Increased risk of schizophrenia in adolescent males indicates that a link between the development of dopamine-related psychopathology and testosterone-driven brain changes may exist. However, contradictions as to whether testosterone increases or decreases dopamine neurotransmission are found and most studies address this in adult animals. Testosterone-dependent actions in neurons are direct via activation of androgen receptors (AR) or indirect by conversion to 17?-estradiol and activation of estrogen receptors (ER). How midbrain dopamine neurons respond to sex steroids depends on the presence of sex steroid receptor(s) and the level of steroid conversion enzymes (aromatase and 5?-reductase). We investigated whether gonadectomy and sex steroid replacement could influence dopamine levels by changing tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) protein and mRNA and/or dopamine breakdown enzyme mRNA levels [catechol-O-methyl transferase (COMT) and monoamine oxygenase (MAO) A and B] in the adolescent male rat substantia nigra. We hypothesized that adolescent testosterone would regulate sex steroid signaling through regulation of ER and AR mRNAs and through modulation of aromatase and 5?-reductase mRNA levels.<h4>Results</h4>We find ER? and AR in midbrain dopamine neurons in adolescent male rats, indicating that dopamine neurons are poised to respond to circulating sex steroids. We report that androgens (T and DHT) increase TH protein and increase COMT, MAOA and MAOB mRNAs in the adolescent male rat substantia nigra. We report that all three sex steroids increase AR mRNA. Differential action on ER pathways, with ER? mRNA down-regulation and ER? mRNA up-regulation by testosterone was found. 5? reductase-1 mRNA was increased by AR activation, and aromatase mRNA was decreased by gonadectomy.<h4>Conclusions</h4>We conclude that increased testosterone at adolescence can shift the balance of sex steroid signaling to favor androgenic responses through promoting conversion of T to DHT and increasing AR mRNA. Further, testosterone may increase local dopamine synthesis and metabolism, thereby changing dopamine regulation within the substantia nigra. We show that testosterone action through both AR and ERs modulates synthesis of sex steroid receptor by altering AR and ER mRNA levels in normal adolescent male substantia nigra. Increased sex steroids in the brain at adolescence may alter substantia nigra dopamine pathways, increasing vulnerability for the development of psychopathology.
Project description:Developmental studies of the prostate have established that ductal morphogenesis, epithelial cytodifferentiation, and proliferation/apoptosis are regulated by androgens acting through stromal androgen receptor (AR). Here, we found mice lacking epithelial AR within the mature prostate (pes-ARKO) developed prostate tissue that was less differentiated and hyperproliferative relative to WT littermates. Epithelial AR protein was significantly decreased in 6-week-old mice and was nearly absent by >/=24 weeks of age. Circulating levels of testosterone, external genitalia, or fertility were not altered in pes-ARKO mice. A significant (P < 0.05) increase in bromo-deoxyuridine-positive epithelia was observed in ventral and dorsal-lateral prostates of pes-ARKO mice at 24 weeks of age. Less differentiation was observed as indicated by decreased epithelial height and glandular infolding through 24 weeks of age, differentiation markers probasin, PSP-94, and Nkx3.1 were sig nificantly decreased, and epithelial sloughing and luminal cell apoptosis increased from 6 to 32 weeks of age in pes-ARKO mice. Gain of function occurred by crossing pes-ARKO to the T857A transgenic mice containing constitutively activated AR. In T857A-pes-ARKO mice prostates were of normal size, contained glandular infoldings, and maintained high secretory epithelium, and the appropriate prostatic epithelial proliferation was restored. Collectively, these results suggest that prostatic epithelial AR plays an important role in the homeostasis of the prostate gland. These data support the hypothesis that epithelial AR controls prostate growth by suppressing epithelial proliferation in the mature gland.
Project description:The protective effects of female gender on the development of abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAAs) have been attributed to anti-inflammatory effects of estrogen. Estrogen synthesis is dependent on the enzyme aromatase, which is located both centrally in the ovaries and peripherally in adipose tissue, bone, and vascular smooth muscle cells. It is hypothesized that deletion of aromatase in both ovarian and peripheral tissues would diminish the protective effect of female gender and would be associated with increased aortic diameter in female mice.Male and female 8- to 10-week-old mice with aromatase (wild type: WT) and without aromatase (ArKO) underwent elastase aortic perfusion with aortic harvest 14 days following. For the contribution of central and peripheral estrogen conversion to be evaluated, female WT mice were compared with female WT and ArKO mice that had undergone ovariectomy (ovx) at 6 weeks followed by elastase perfusion at 8 to 10 weeks. At aortic harvest, maximal aortic dilation was measured and samples were collected for immunohistochemistry and protein analysis. Serum was collected for serum estradiol concentrations. Groups were compared with analysis of variance. Human and mouse AAA cross sections were analyzed with confocal immunohistochemistry for aromatase, smooth muscle markers, and macrophage markers.Female WT mice had significant reduction in aortic dilation compared with male WT mice (F WT, 51.5% ± 15.1% vs M WT, 78.7% ± 14.9%; P < .005). The protective effects of female gender were completely eliminated with deletion of aromatase (F ArKO, 82.6% ± 13.8%; P < .05 vs F WT). Ovariectomy increased aortic dilation in WT mice (F WT ovx, 70.6% ± 11.7%; P < .05 vs F WT). Aromatase deletion with ovariectomy further increased aortic dilation compared with WT ovx mice (F ArKO ovx, 87.3% ± 14.7%, P < .001 vs F WT and P < .05 vs F WT ovx). Accordingly, female ArKO ovx mice had significantly higher levels of the proinflammatory cytokines monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 and interleukin-1? and were associated with increased macrophage staining and decreased elastin staining. Regarding serum hormone levels, decreasing estradiol levels correlated with increasing aortic diameter (R = -0.565; P < .01). By confocal immunohistochemistry, both human and mouse AAA smooth muscle cells (smooth muscle ?-actin positive) and macrophages (CD68 positive or Mac-2 positive) expressed aromatase.The protective effect of female gender on AAAs is due to estrogen synthesis and requires the presence of both ovarian and extragonadal/peripheral aromatase. Peripheral estrogen synthesis accounts for roughly half of the protective effect of female gender. If peripheral aromatase could be targeted, high levels of local estrogen could be produced and may avoid the side effects of systemic estrogen.
Project description:PURPOSE:We hypothesize that aromatase, an enzyme that controls estrogen biosynthesis, plays a major role in the sex-related differences of the meibomian gland. To begin to test this hypothesis, we examined the influence of aromatase absence, which completely eliminates estrogen production, on glandular gene expression and histology in male and female mice. METHODS:Meibomian glands were obtained from adult, age-matched wild-type (WT) and aromatase knockout (ArKO) mice. Tissues were processed for histology or the isolation of total RNA, which was analyzed for differentially expressed mRNAs by using microarrays. RESULTS:Our results show that aromatase significantly influences the expression of more than a thousand genes in the meibomian gland. The nature of this effect is primarily sex-dependent. In addition, the influence of aromatase on sex-related differences in gene expression is predominantly genotype-specific. However, many of the sex-related variations in biological process, molecular function, and cellular component ontologies, as well as in KEGG (Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes) pathways, are remarkably similar between WT and ArKO mice. The loss of aromatase activity has no obvious effect on the histology of meibomian glands in male or female mice. CONCLUSIONS:Our findings demonstrate that aromatase has a significant impact on gene expression in the meibomian gland. The nature of this influence is sex-dependent and genotype-specific; however, many of the sex-related variations in gene ontologies and KEGG pathways are similar between WT and ArKO mice. Consequently, it appears that aromatase, and by extension estrogen, do not play a major role in the sex-related differences of the mouse meibomian gland.
Project description:Cutaneous wounds heal more slowly in elderly males than in elderly females, suggesting a role for sex hormones in the healing process. Indeed, androgen/androgen receptor (AR) signaling has been shown to inhibit cutaneous wound healing. AR is expressed in several cell types in healing skin, including keratinocytes, dermal fibroblasts, and infiltrating macrophages, but the exact role of androgen/AR signaling in these different cell types remains unclear. To address this question, we generated and studied cutaneous wound healing in cell-specific AR knockout (ARKO) mice. General and myeloid-specific ARKO mice exhibited accelerated wound healing compared with WT mice, whereas keratinocyte- and fibroblast-specific ARKO mice did not. Importantly, the rate of wound healing in the general ARKO mice was dependent on AR and not serum androgen levels. Interestingly, although dispensable for wound closure, keratinocyte AR promoted re-epithelialization, while fibroblast AR suppressed it. Further analysis indicated that AR suppressed wound healing by enhancing the inflammatory response through a localized increase in TNF-alpha expression. Furthermore, AR enhanced local TNF-alpha expression via multiple mechanisms, including increasing the inflammatory monocyte population, enhancing monocyte chemotaxis by upregulating CCR2 expression, and enhancing TNF-alpha expression in macrophages. Finally, targeting AR by topical application of a compound (ASC-J9) that degrades AR protein resulted in accelerated healing, suggesting a potential new therapeutic approach that may lead to better treatment of wound healing.