Breeding status and social environment differentially affect the expression of sex steroid receptor and aromatase mRNA in the brain of female Damaraland mole-rats

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dc.contributor.author Voigt, Cornelia
dc.contributor.author Gahr, Manfred
dc.contributor.author Leitner, Stefan
dc.contributor.author Lutermann, Heike
dc.contributor.author Bennett, Nigel C., 1961-
dc.date.accessioned 2014-08-15T11:34:12Z
dc.date.available 2014-08-15T11:34:12Z
dc.date.issued 2014-05-08
dc.description.abstract INTRODUCTION: The Damaraland mole-rat (Fukomys damarensis) is a eusocial, subterranean mammal, which exhibits an extreme reproductive skew with a single female (queen) monopolizing reproduction in each colony. Non-reproductive females in the presence of the queen are physiologically suppressed to the extent that they are anovulatory. This blockade is thought to be caused by a disruption in the normal gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) secretion from the hypothalamus. In order to understand the underlying physiological mechanisms of reproductive suppression in subordinate females we studied the expression of steroid hormone receptors and the androgen-converting enzyme aromatase in forebrain regions involved in the control of reproductive behaviour in female breeders and non-breeders from intact colonies. Additionally, we included in our analysis females that experienced the release from social suppression by being removed from the presence of the queen. RESULTS: We found expression of androgen receptor, estrogen receptor α and aromatase in several forebrain regions of female Damaraland mole-rats. Their distribution matches previous findings in other mammals. Quantification of the hybridisation signal revealed that queens had increased expression of androgen receptors compared to non-breeders and removed non-breeders in most brain regions examined, which include the medial preoptic area (MPOA), the principal nucleus of the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis (BSTp), the ventromedial nucleus of the hypothalamus (VMH), the arcuate nucleus (ARC) and the medial amygdala (MeA). Furthermore, breeders had increased estrogen receptor α expression in the anteroventral periventricular nucleus (AVPV) and in the MeA, while aromatase expression in the AVPV was significantly reduced compared to non-breeders. Absence of social suppression was associated with increased androgen receptor expression in the ARC, increased estrogen receptor α expression in the MeA and BSTp and reduced aromatase expression in the AVPV. CONCLUSION: This study shows that social suppression and breeding differentially affect the neuroendocrine phenotype of female Damaraland mole-rats. The differential expression pattern of estrogen receptor α and aromatase in the AVPV between breeders and non-breeders supports the view that this region plays an important role in mediating the physiological suppression in subordinate females. en_US
dc.description.librarian am2014 en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Fellowships from the University of Pretoria to CV and HL as well as the DST-NRF for funding to NB. en_US
dc.description.uri http://www.frontiersinzoology.com/ en_US
dc.identifier.citation Voigt, C, Gahr, M, Leitner, S, Lutermann, H & Bennett, N 2014, 'Breeding status and social environment differentially affect the expression of sex steroid receptor and aromatase mRNA in the brain of female Damaraland mole-rats', Frontiers in Zoology, vol. 11, art. 38, pp. 1-10. en_US
dc.identifier.issn 1742-9994
dc.identifier.other 10.1186/1742-9994-11-38
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2263/41344
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher BioMed Central en_US
dc.rights © 2014 Voigt et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License en_US
dc.subject Androgen receptor en_US
dc.subject Estrogen receptor alpha en_US
dc.subject Aromatase en_US
dc.subject In situ hybridization en_US
dc.subject Fukomys damarensis en_US
dc.subject Social status en_US
dc.subject Damaraland mole-rat (Fukomys damarensis) en_US
dc.title Breeding status and social environment differentially affect the expression of sex steroid receptor and aromatase mRNA in the brain of female Damaraland mole-rats en_US
dc.type Article en_US


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