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Animal Reproduction and Physiology
Asian-Australasian Journal of Animal Sciences 2007;20(12): 1832-1842.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.5713/ajas.2007.1832    Published online October 30, 2007.
Testicular Expression of Steroidogenic Enzyme Genes Is Related to a Transient Increase in Serum 19-nortestosterone during Neonatal Development in Pigs
Nag-Jin Choi, Jin Hee Hyun, Jae Min Choi, Eun Ju Lee, Kyung Hyun Cho, Yunje Kim, Jongsoo Chang, Il Byung Chung, Chung Soo Chung, Inho Choi*
Correspondence:  Inho Choi,
Cytochrome P450 aromatase is responsible for the biosynthesis of estrogen. It is also responsible for the endogenous production of 19-nortestosterone (nandrolone), an anabolic androgen unique to pigs. Plasma concentrations of 19-nortestosterone are highest between two and four weeks after birth in male pigs. In the present study, the physiology of 19-nortestosterone was investigated by measuring the mRNA levels of steroidogenic enzymes, estrogen receptors and androgen receptor in the tissues of growing pigs. The expression of aromatase, 17??hydroxylase and 3??hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase in the testes of male piglets increased between birth and two weeks of age, and then decreased progressively. Similar developmental expressional patterns were observed for 17??hydroxylase and 3??hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase in the ovaries of female piglets, but without significant aromatase expression. The major form of aromatase expressed in the testes of piglets was identified as type I. Expression of estrogen receptor-??and -??and androgen receptor genes was also detected in both testes and ovaries. A transient elevation of androgen receptor mRNA in male piglets at two weeks of age was also observed in testes. Significant expression of the androgen receptor gene, but not of estrogen receptor-??and -??genes, was also demonstrated in adipose tissue and muscle. We conclude that the observed increase in the testicular expression of aromatase in male pigs could account for the production of large amounts of 19-nortestosterone at between two and four weeks of age in males. Androgen receptor and 19-nortestosterone appeared to be important for testicular development and might contribute to sexual dimorphism in body composition and muscle development in juvenile pigs.
Keywords: Cytochrome P450 Aromatase; Pig Testis; 19-Nortestosterone
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