Localization of androgen receptor in the follicle and corpus luteum of the primate ovary during the menstrual cycle

S. Hild-Petito, N. B. West, R. M. Brenner, R. L. Stouffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Ovarian androgens may act locally to modulate follicular and luteal function in various species. This study examined the distribution of androgen receptors within the primate ovary throughout the menstrual cycle. Ovaries were collected from rhesus and cynomolgus monkeys during the early, mid-, and late (n = 3-5 per stage) follicular and luteal phases of the cycle. The tissues were processed for indirect immunocytochemical localization of androgen receptors with a specific monoclonal antibody against human androgen receptor (AN1-15). In addition, ovaries (n = 3) were collected from rhesus monkeys for biochemical detection of androgen receptor using 3H-androgen and AN1-15. Specific immunocytochemical staining, as determined by comparing adjacent tissue sections incubated with either AN1-15 or a nonspecific control antibody, was exclusively nuclear. Androgen receptor was detected in the germinal epithelium and ovarian stroma at all stages of the cycle. The thecal and granulosa cells of growing follicles, and of many but not all atretic follicles, contained androgen receptors. Luteinizing granulosa cells of the periovulatory follicle and luteal cells from the early and midluteal phase stained intensely for androgen receptor. Regressing corpora lutea of the late luteal phase also stained for androgen receptor; however, fully regressed corpora lutea in the early follicular phase of the next cycle did not exhibit receptor staining. Luteal cells that were androgen receptor-positive also stained histochemically for the presence of 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase. Sucrose gradient analysis with radiolabeled androgen demonstrated a shift in the androgen receptor peak in monkey ovarian tissue upon addition of AN1-15, confirming the presence of androgen receptor. These data support a receptor-mediated autocrine or paracrine role for androgen in the theca and granulosa layers during follicular development in the primate ovary. Moreover, the evidence suggests for the first time a local androgen action within the corpus luteum during the menstrual cycle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)561-568
Number of pages8
JournalBiology of reproduction
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1991
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Cell Biology


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