In primates, expression of the EP2 gene is androgen-dependent and epididymis-specific. EP2 mRNA expression was investigated in caput, corpus, and cauda regions of rat epididymis and in 15 other rat tissues. Polymerase chain reaction and Northern analyses showed that rat EP2 is expressed predominantly in the proximal caput epididymidis. EP2 mRNA expression was determined in proximal epididymides from castrated, sham-operated, and efferent duct-ligated rats. In castrated rats, EP2 mRNA decreased to <10% of that in sham-operated rats between Days 3 and 4 postcastration, demonstrating the androgen dependence of EP2 expression. In epididymides ligated unilaterally at the efferent ducts, EP2 mRNA levels were approximately equal to those in the unligated contralateral epididymides or in sham-operated rats, indicating that EP2 expression does not depend on testicular factors. In bilaterally castrated rats, immediate and delayed testosterone replacement showed the dependence of EP2 expression on circulating androgens. Injection of testosterone propionate (TP) on Days 0, 1, 2, and 3 postcastration maintained EP2 mRNA levels approximately equal to those in sham-operated rats. Starting at Day 4 postcastration, daily injection of TP for 7 days restored EP2 mRNA to approximately normal levels. These data indicate for the rat that EP2 is expressed specifically in the proximal caput epididymidis and that its expression depends on circulating androgens but not on testicular factors.
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