Androgen and estrogen receptors in the developing mouse brain.Endocrinology. 1976 Nov; 99(5):1279-90.E
Specific binding of the androgens, 5alpha-dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and testosterone, and of 17beta-estradiol by brain cytosol from mice at 3-5,9-11, and 18-23 days of age was measured by charcoal assay and glycerol gradient centrifugation and analyzed by Scatchard plots. The immature mouse brain contains putative receptors for these steroids which migrate at 8 S in gradients at low ionic strength and at 5 S in 0.5 M KCl. Investigation of estradiol binding was complicated by the presence in cytosol from 3-5 day-old mice, and to a lesser extent from 9-11 day-old mice, of the high capacity, fetoneonatal estradiol binding protein (FEBP) which is no longer detectable at 3 weeks. The rapid dissociation of the FEBP-estradiol complex under non-equilibrium conditions probably led to over-estimation of free steroid concentration and thus to an apparent increase in the affinity of 8 S receptor for estradiol with age (for female brain cytosol KD=9.5 X 10(-10)M at 3-5 days and 2.7 X 10(-10)M at 18-23 days). The number of estradiol binding sites remains relatively constant during the first 3 weeks at 7-9 fmol/mg protein, while the number of DHT binding sites in female brain increases from 3.2+/-0.3 to 6.6+/-0.9 to 9.6+/-0.3 (mean+/-SE) fmol/mg protein in the 3 age groups. Dissociation constants and numbers of sites for both DHT and estradiol binding are similar in brain cytosol from male and female mice. Testosterone and DHT compete for the same binding site, but its affinity for DHT is about twice that for testosterone. The high affinity of the brain receptor for DHT (KD=4-5 X 10(-10)M) may reflect the slow metabolism of DHT to 5alpha-androstanediols, amounting to less than 10% after 2 h at 0 C. Binding of DHT and estradiol to cytosol from brain regions was also investigated. DHT receptors increase in parallel in various regions with age; the concentration of sites in the hypothalamus-preoptic area (HPOA) is 1.2-3.4 times that in the cerebral cortex (C). The concentration of estradiol binding sites in HPOA to that in C increases about 12-fold from neonatal to adult stages, reflecting both an increase in HPOA sites and a decrease in C sites, while the concentration in the remainder of the brain shows little change. Androgen and estrogen receptors in brain cytosol from immature mice can be distinguished by their different specificities and developmental patterns in whole brain and brain regions. The presence and properties of these receptors in the brain of neonatal mice are discussed with respect to their possible role in sexual differentiation of the brain.