Perinatal estrogens increase the number of vasopressin-expressing cells and the density of vasopressin-immunoreactive fibers observed in adult male rodents. The mechanism of action of estrogens on sexual differentiation of the extra-hypothalamic vasopressin system is unknown. We hypothesized that the sexually dimorphic expression of progestin receptors (PRs) during development would masculinize vasopressin expression in mice. We compared the number of vasopressin-expressing cells in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST) and medial amygdala and the density of vasopressin-immunoreactive fibers in several brain regions of male and female wild type and PRKO mice using in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. As expected, sex differences in vasopressin cell number were observed in the BNST and medial amygdaloid nucleus. Vasopressin-immunoreactive fiber density was sexually dimorphic in the lateral septum, lateral habenular nucleus, medial amygdaloid nucleus, and mediodorsal thalamus. Sex differences were also observed in the principal nucleus of the BNST and medial preoptic area but not in the dorsomedial hypothalamus, which are thought to receive vasopressin innervation from the suprachiasmatic nucleus. Deletion of PRs did not alter the sex difference in vasopressin mRNA expression and vasopressin fiber immunoreactivity in any area examined. However, deletion of PRs increased the density of vasopressin fiber immunoreactivity in the lateral habenular nucleus. Our data suggest that PRs modulate vasopressin levels, but not sexual differentiation of vasopressin innervation in mice.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||11|
|State||Published - Jun 26 2008|
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