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Adrenocorticotropic hormone-induced secretion of cortisol in goats is inhibited by androgen

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In a previous study, it was found that there are sex differences in goats with respect to the levels of cortisol secretion induced by transportation stress. We also found that treatment of castrated male goats with dihydrotestosterone (DHT) suppressed the increase in plasma cortisol concentration following transportation, but did not suppress the secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). This suggests that androgen might block ACTH-induced cortisol secretion. In order to examine this hypothesis, the effects of androgen on ACTH-induced cortisol secretion in goats were investigated. First, castrated male goats were treated with testosterone (T), DHT or cholesterol (cho) for 21–25 days. Cho was used as a control for T and DHT treatment. Then, plasma cortisol concentrations were compared among the hormonal treatments after ACTH injection. Subsequently, the distribution of androgen receptors in the caprine adrenal gland was investigated. There were no differences in the basal cortisol concentrations among the hormonal treatments. However, plasma cortisol concentrations after ACTH injection were significantly lower in T- and DHT-treated goats than in cho-treated goats. Androgen receptors were present in 60% of the cells in the zonae fasciculata and reticularis of the adrenal cortex, the regions that secrete glucocorticoids. These results suggest that androgen may act directly on the adrenal cortex to suppress cortisol secretion induced by ACTH.
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Keywords: adrenal gland; adrenocorticotropic hormone; androgen; cortisol; goat

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Agriculture, Utsunomiya University, Utsunomiya-shi and

Publication date: February 1, 2006

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