Pituitary androgen receptor signalling regulates prolactin but not gonadotrophins in the male mouse

Laura O'Hara, Michael Curley, Maria Tedim Ferreira, Lyndsey Cruickshanks, Laura Milne, Lee B Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Production of the androgen testosterone is controlled by a negative feedback loop within the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis. Stimulation of testicular Leydig cells by pituitary luteinising hormone (LH) is under the control of hypothalamic gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GnRH), while suppression of LH secretion by the pituitary is controlled by circulating testosterone. Exactly how androgens exert their feedback control of gonadotrophin secretion (and whether this is at the level of the pituitary), as well as the role of AR in other pituitary cell types remains unclear. To investigate these questions, we exploited a transgenic mouse line (Foxg1Cre/+; ARfl/y) which lacks androgen receptor in the pituitary gland. Both circulating testosterone and gonadotrophins are unchanged in adulthood, demonstrating that AR signalling is dispensable in the male mouse pituitary for testosterone-dependent regulation of LH secretion. In contrast, Foxg1Cre/+; ARfl/y males have a significant increase in circulating prolactin, suggesting that, rather than controlling gonadotrophins, AR-signalling in the pituitary acts to suppress aberrant prolactin production in males.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e0121657
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2015


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