To characterize the effect of androgens on the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis we examined the regulation of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) following gonadectomy and hormone replacement. Three-month-old male Fischer 344 (F344) rats were gonadectomized (GDX) or sham GDX. Control animals remained intact. Animals were sacrificed 1, 4, 7, 10, or 21 days following surgery. GDX rats had significantly elevated (p < 0.05) levels of hypothalamic CRH 21 days after surgery compared to intact and sham-oper- ated rats. In a second study, 3-month-old male F344 rats were GDX and treated with the non-aromatizable androgen, dihydrotestosterone (DHT), using a Silastic capsule containing crystalline DHT propionate subcutaneous- ly implanted in each animal’s back. Control animals were GDX and sham- treated or left intact (INT). Three weeks following gonadectomy, CRH levels in the hypothalamus of GDX rats showed a significant increase (p < 0.05) compared to intact animals. DHT treatment, beginning at the time of gonadectomy prevented this increase. CRH or arginine vasopressin (AVP) immunoreactivity was examined using immunocytochemistry. The number of CRH- immunoreactive (IR) cells in the paraventricular nucleus (PVN) of GDX, DHT-treated animals was significantly decreased (p < 0.05) compared to GDX rats. No differences were seen between treatment groups in CRH-IR cell numbers in the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis or the central amygdaloid nucleus or in AVP-IR cell numbers in the PVN. These data demonstrate that long-term castration increases hypothalamic CRH content and CRH-IR cell numbers in the PVN by removal of an androgen-dependent repression.
- Corticotropin-releasing hormone
- Paraventricular nucleus
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience