The spinal motonucleus of the genitofemoral nerve regulating scrotal temperature can also be related to prenatal and neonatal testicular descent by gubernacular change in rats, and a sexually dimorphic-like bulbocavernosus/dorsolateral motonucleus. There is a hypothesis that neonatal androgen affects these motonuclei, and induces development of sexual organs through neural stimulation. Until now, the accumulation of isotope-labelled androgen and the immunoreactivity of androgen receptor protein in each sexually-dimorphic spinal motonucleus have been revealed in adult rats but they have not been established in rats during neonatal periods. To investigate the presence of the androgen receptor in spinal sexually-dimorphic motonuclei in the neonatal period, we evaluated the androgen receptor immunoreactivity of these motonuclei. In Sprague-Dawley male rats, the lumbar spinal cords were resected at postnatal days 3, 10 and 30, and stained immunohistochemically using polyclonal antibody of androgen receptor protein. The immunoreactivity of androgen receptor protein was observed in the cells of the genitofemoral motonucleus from the 13th thoracic to the 2nd lumbar spinal cord and the bulbocavernosus/dorsolateral motonucleus was observed from the 4th to 5th lumbar spinal cord in all age groups. The proportional areas of both motonuclei at days 3 and 10 on cross-section were larger than at day 30. The motonuclei at days 3 and 10 were similar in all age groups. With the above results, the presence of androgen receptor protein was confirmed in the genitofemoral and bulbocavernosus/dorsolateral motonucleus from neonate to day 30. The larger proportional area of these motonuclei in neonates may indicate an active role for these motonuclei during the neonatal period. Although the immunoreactivity does not directly imply the presence of a functional receptor, neonatal androgen could be responsible for the development of sexual organs through the spinal motonucleus.
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