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Androgen Receptor Expression in the Levator Ani Muscle of Male Mice

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The spinal nucleus of the bulbocavernosus (SNB) is a sexually dimorphic group of motoneurones that innervates the bulbocavernosus (BC) and levator ani (LA), skeletal muscles that attach to the base of the penis. In many species, including mice, rats and hamsters, the LA and BC have been found to be highly responsive to androgen and, in rats, these muscles mediate several effects of androgen on the SNB system. However, characterising the SNB system in mice is important because of the availability of genetic models in this species. In the present study, we examined AR expression in skeletal muscles of C57/BlJ6 adult male mice using immunoblotting and immunocytochemistry, comparing the BC/LA to the androgen-unresponsive extensor digitorum longus (EDL). We found similar differences in AR expression for these muscles in the mouse as previously reported for rats. In mice, the BC/LA contains more AR protein than does the EDL. At the cellular level, the LA contains a higher percentage of AR positive myonuclei and fibroblasts than does the EDL. Finally, AR expression is enriched at the neuromuscular junction of mouse LA fibres. The increased expression of AR in the LA compared to the EDL in both muscle fibres and fibroblasts indicates that each cell type may critically mediate androgen action on the SNB system in mice.
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Keywords: extensor digitorum longus; immunoctyochemistry; neuromuscular junction; sexual differentiation; spinal nucleus of the bulbocavernosus

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2007

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