Estrogen and androgen receptor expression in relation to steroid concentrations in the adult boar epididymis.Domest Anim Endocrinol. 2007 Nov; 33(4):451-9.DA
The steroid hormone regulation of the epididymis in a high estrogen producing animal like the boar is not currently understood. To test the hypothesis that the boar epididymis is an estrogen and androgen responsive tissue, the presence of estrogen and androgen receptors, in conjunction with steroid hormone concentrations were investigated in the boar epididymis. Epididymal (caput, corpus, cauda) and testicular samples of boars (1-2.5 years; n=5) were collected for immunolocalization of estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha), estrogen receptor beta (ERbeta) and androgen receptor (AR). Concentrations of testosterone, estradiol and estrogen conjugates (EC) in the tissue were also determined. AR and ERbeta were localized in the principal and basal cells of all three epididymal regions. ERalpha was localized in the principal cells of the caput, some cells of the corpus and was not present in the cauda. Testosterone (p<0.0001), estradiol (p<0.0001) and EC (p<0.005) were significantly lower in the epididymis compared with the testis. The epididymal regions were not significantly different from each other for testosterone (p>0.15) or estradiol (p>0.09). EC were significantly higher in the corpus than either the caput (p=0.003) or cauda (p=0.002). These results suggest that the boar epididymis is responsive to both estrogens and androgens and that both steroid hormones are important for proper epididymal function. Since testosterone and estradiol concentrations are similar throughout the epididymis, regional differences in steroid hormone regulation are likely due to differences in receptor expression.