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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1989 May;86(10):3684-8.

Anti-Müllerian hormone produces endocrine sex reversal of fetal ovaries.

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  • 1Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale, Hôpital des Enfants-Malades, Paris, France.


We have previously reported that anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH), also known as Müllerian-inhibiting substance, the testicular glycoprotein involved in regression of the Müllerian ducts of the male fetus, induces the formation of seminiferous cord-like structures in fetal ovaries exposed to it in organ culture. We have now investigated the effect of bovine AMH, purified to homogeneity, on ovarian endocrine differentiation. Ovine fetal ovaries exposed to AMH release testosterone instead of estradiol, an endocrine sex reversal due to suppression of aromatase activity. AMH dramatically decreases the conversion rate of testosterone to estradiol and also decreases total aromatase activity, as measured by the tritiated water technique. AMH acts by decreasing aromatase biosynthesis rather than by blocking enzyme activity, as suggested by the relatively long period of AMH exposure required to produce an effect. In the rabbit fetal ovary, aromatase activity is AMH-responsive during the whole gestational period. The basal steroidogenic activity of rat fetal ovaries is extremely low but can be markedly increased by cAMP. AMH completely blocks the effect of cAMP. Taken together, our results suggest that AMH plays a pivotal role in both morphological and endocrine gonadal sex differentiation.

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