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Dev Dyn. 2001 Oct;222(2):228-37.

Expression of AMH, SF1, and SOX9 in gonads of genetic female chickens during sex reversal induced by an aromatase inhibitor.

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Institut Jacques Monod, UMR 7592 CNRS et Universités Paris VI et Paris VII, 2 place Jussieu, 75251 Paris Cedex 05, France.


Aromatase inhibitors administered prior to histological signs of gonadal sex differentiation can induce sex reversal of genetic female chickens. Under the effects of Fadrozole (CGS 16949A), a nonsteroidal aromatase inhibitor, the right gonad generally becomes a testis, and the left gonad a testis or an ovotestis. We have compared the expression pattern of the genes encoding AMH (the anti-Müllerian hormone), SF1 (steroidogenic factor 1), and SOX9 (a transcription factor related to SRY) in these sex-reversed gonads with that in control testes and ovaries, using in situ hybridization with riboprobes on gonadal sections. In control males, the three genes are expressed in Sertoli cells of testicular cords; however, only SOX9 is male specific, since as observed previously AMH and SF1 but not SOX9 are expressed in the control female gonads. In addition to testicular-like cords, sex-reversed gonads present many lacunae with a composite, thick and flat epithelium. We show that during embryonic and postnatal development, AMH, SF1 and SOX9 are expressed in the epithelium of testicular-like cords and in the thickened part but not in the flattened part of the epithelium of composite lacunae. AMH and SF1 but not SOX9 are expressed in follicular cells of ovotestes. Coexpression of the three genes, of which SOX9 is a specific Sertoli-cell marker, provides strong evidence for the transdifferentiation of ovarian into testicular epithelium in gonads of female chickens treated with Fadrozole.

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