Androgens have distinct physiological functions within the ovary. The biological action of androgens is primarily exerted through transcriptional regulation by the nuclear androgen receptor (AR), but the molecular cascades governed by AR remain largely unknown. At present, there is imminent concern that environmental man-made chemicals with antiandrogenic properties, among others, are capable of modulating hormonal responses, thereby interfering with normal physiological processes that are critical to fertility. In the present study, we aimed to further characterize a standardized and reproducible follicle culture system in terms of AR expression during in vitro folliculogenesis to be able to use it as a bioassay to study effects of antiandrogens on follicular and oocyte growth, steroid secretion profile, and oocyte meiotic maturation capacity. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed that cytoplasmic AR protein was translocated to the nucleus of granulosa and theca cells in response to endogenous androgen production in theca cells during preantral follicular development. During the antral phase in vitro, AR was differentially expressed in mural and cumulus cells, implying an oocyte-mediated regulation. Treatment of follicles with hydroxyflutamide or bicalutamide, two model antiandrogenic compounds, resulted in reduced follicular growth during the preantral phase, altered steroidogenic environment, and arrest in oocyte meiotic maturation in response to human chorionic gonadotropin. Androgen receptor expression in the culture model corresponded well to what is described in vivo, and this system revealed several ovarian functions targeted by AR antagonists that can be further investigated using more in-depth molecular techniques.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 80 • No. 4