Gene expression changes in rat prostate after activation or blocking of the androgen and estrogen receptor

Christine Lydia Nellemann, Majken Dalgaard, Bjørn Holst, Eva C. Bonefeld-Jørgensen, Anne Vinggaard

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Several endpoints of different molecular complexity were studied in the Hershberger assay in order to evaluate the specificity and suitability of this test as a broad screening model. Androgen and estrogen receptors were activated or blocked, and expression of typical estrogen- or androgen responsive genes (complement C3, ER alpha, ER beta, AR, TRPM-2, PBPC3, ODC, and IGF-1 mRNA) was analyzed in rat ventral prostate by real time RT-PCR. Administration of estradiol benzoate (EB) to castrated testosterone-treated rats had no effect on reproductive organ weights or gene expression levels and the anti-estrogen, ICI 182780, only affected ODC expression. Therefore, estrogenic or anti-estrogenic compounds would not be expected to seriously affect the outcome of a Hershberger test. However, EB given alone to castrated rats resulted in various effects. EB increased seminal vesicle weight, an effect reversed by ICI 182780, and affected TRPM-2, PBP C3, ODC, IGF-1, AR, and ERa mRNA levels. AR expression in the prostate seemed to be under regulation of both estrogens and androgens, as ICI 182780 inhibited the testosterone-induced AR expression, and flutamide inhibited the EB-induced AR expression. These data indicate that estrogens have various effects in castrated male rats and that expression of several genes is under multi-hormonal control in the ventral prostate. However, interactions between estrogens and androgens do not play a major role in the Hershberger assay, as simultaneous TP administration abolished the effects of EB. First choice of gene expression profiles in the Hershberger assay to study androgenic or anti-androgenic effects would be the traditional, TRPNI-2 and PBP C3, supplemented with the new complement C3.
Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Issue number1-2
Pages (from-to)25-35
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • rat ventral prostate
  • androgen receptor
  • gene expression
  • Hershberger assay
  • endocrine disrupters
  • estrogen receptor


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