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Mol Endocrinol. 2014 Oct;28(10):1670-81. doi: 10.1210/me.2014-1154. Epub 2014 Aug 26.

Conditional knockout of the androgen receptor in gonadotropes reveals crucial roles for androgen in gonadotropin synthesis and surge in female mice.

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Pediatrics Department (S.W., Y.C., T.F., S.A.D., A.W.), Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland 21286; Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine (C.C.), University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York 14642; and Department of Urology and Pathology (S.Y.), University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14642.


Polycystic ovary syndrome is the major cause of infertility in reproductive aged women. Polycystic ovary syndrome is associated with high circulating levels of androgens and impaired metabolic function. The goal of this study was to understand how androgen signaling via the androgen receptor (AR) affects reproductive function. We knocked out the AR gene specifically in pituitary gonadotropes (PitARKO) to explore the role of androgen on the development of reproductive function in female mice. There was no difference in the age of puberty between control and PitARKO littermates, which was assessed by the ages of vaginal opening and first estrus. Cyclicity and fertility were also studied, and there was no significant difference between control and PitARKO mice. We observed a significant decrease in basal FSH serum and mRNA levels with no corresponding change in LH serum and mRNA levels. Although the numbers of litters born to control and PitARKO females were the same, the litter size was significantly smaller for PitARKO mice. The LH and FSH responses to ovariectomy was altered with reduced LH/FSH hormone and mRNA levels in PitARKO females. This reduction may be due to reduced expression of activin A/B and gnrhr. The preovulatory surge levels of LH and FSH were dramatically lower in PitARKO mice. The number of corpora lutea was decreased whereas the number of antral follicles was similar between control and PitARKO mice. Overall the pituitary AR contributes to the elaboration of the LH surge and normal reproductive function by regulating LH/FSH expression and secretion.

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