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Biol Reprod. 2000 Feb;62(2):310-7.

Expression of estrogen receptor beta is developmentally regulated in reproductive tissues of male and female mice.

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Developmental Endocrinology Section, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709, USA.


By the use of ribonuclease protection assay (RPA) combined with immunohistochemical techniques, the expression of estrogen receptor (ER) alpha and ERbeta was mapped in the developing gonads and reproductive tracts of male and female mice from fetal day 14 to postnatal day 26 (PND 26). This study was designed to determine the pattern of expression of both ER subtypes in specific tissue compartments during development. In ovaries, ERalpha mRNA was detected at all ages examined; ERbeta mRNA was seen as early as PND 1, and its expression increased with age. Immunolocalization showed ERbeta in differentiating granulosa cells of the ovary, whereas ERalpha was predominantly seen in interstitial cells. The remainder of the female reproductive tract showed ERalpha mRNA at all ages examined with little or no significant levels of ERbeta, except on PND 1 when a low level of message appeared. In males, ERalpha and ERbeta mRNA were detected in the fetal testis; however, ERbeta gradually increased until PND 5 and subsequently diminished to undetectable levels by PND 26. Immunolocalization showed ERalpha in the interstitial compartment of the testis, whereas ERbeta was seen predominantly in developing spermatogonia. The remainder of the male reproductive tract showed varying amounts of both receptors by RPA and immunostaining throughout development. These studies provide information useful in studying the role of both ER subtypes in normal differentiation, and they provide indications of differential tissue expression during development.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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