Androgens are required for normal spermatogenesis in mammalian testes. These hormones directly regulate testicular somatic cells that, in turn, support germ cell differentiation. However, the identity of genes under androgen regulation in the testis are not well known. In the present study, neonatal male mice (8 days postpartum) treated by testosterone propionate (TP) were used to study androgen action in the testis as evidenced by alterations in gene expression. Mice were treated with 0.5 mg of TP or dihydrotestosterone (DHT) or vehicle (oil), and testes were harvested 4, 8, and 16 h after treatment. Global gene expression was monitored by microarray analysis. Real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction was performed to confirm the microarray results. The methodology was verified by confirming the presence of previously characterized TP-regulated genes, including Pem in Sertoli cells and Cyp17a1 in Leydig cells. No significant differences in gene expression were found between TP- and DHT-treated samples. Microarray analysis identified 141, 119, and 109 up-regulated genes at 4, 8 and 16 h after TP treatment, respectively, and 83, 99, and 111 down-regulated genes at the same corresponding time points. The androgen regulation of the selected gene was verified further using testes from flutamide-treated adult mice and isolated Sertoli cells in culture. The data generated in the present study may serve as a foundation for hypothesis-driven research and provide insights regarding gene networks and pathways under androgen control in the testis.
mechanisms of hormone action