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Am J Physiol. 1998 Jun;274(6 Pt 1):C1645-52.

Androgen receptors in human preadipocytes and adipocytes: regional specificities and regulation by sex steroids.

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  • 1Service de Biochimie, Institut National de la Sante et de la Recherche Medicale CJF 9402, Faculte de Medecine Paris-Ouest, Universite Rene Descartes (Paris V), Centre Hospitalier de Poissy, 78303 Poissy Cedex, France.


Various clinical and epidemiological evidence strongly suggests a major role for sex steroid hormones in the determination of anatomical specificities of fat distribution in human. To date, no studies have examined the possible presence of androgen receptors (AR) in human adipocytes and preadipocytes. We have studied AR in preadipocytes from various anatomical locations (intra-abdominal and subcutaneous) in middle-aged men and women during the proliferation and differentiation processes (adipogenesis). Androgen binding sites quantified by [3H]R-1881-specific binding in whole cell extracts were twofold higher in intra-abdominal than in subcutaneous preadipocytes but identical for the same fat depots in men and women. Western blot analysis revealed 1) the presence of AR in the nuclear and cytosolic fractions of human preadipocytes, 2) a decrease of AR expression during adipogenesis, and 3) an upregulation of AR by androgens in vitro. RT-PCR experiments showed the presence of AR mRNA in human preadipocytes and adipocytes and also the regional specificity of AR distribution. However, AR mRNA expression was found to increase during adipogenesis. The same results were observed in rat preadipocytes. In conclusion, this study clearly demonstrates the presence of AR in human preadipocytes and adipocytes and suggests that androgens may contribute, through regulation of their own receptors, to the control of adipose tissue development.

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