Introduction: Androgens regulate a wide array of physiological processes, including male sexual development, bone and muscle growth, and behavior and cognition. Because androgens play a vital role in so many tissues, changes in androgen signaling are associated with a plethora of diseases. How such varied responses are achieved by a single stimulus is not well understood. Androgens act primarily through the androgen receptor (AR), a hormone nuclear receptor that is expressed in a select variety of tissues.
Methods: In order to gain a better understanding of how the tissue-selective effects of androgens are achieved, we performed a comparison of microarray data, using previously published datasets and several of our own microarray datasets. These datasets were derived from clinically relevant, AR-expressing tissues dissected from rodents treated with the full androgen dihydrotestosterone (DHT).
Results: We found that there is a diverse response to DHT, with very little overlap of androgen regulated genes in each tissue. Gene ontology analyses also indicated that, while several tissues regulate similar biological processes in response to DHT, most androgen regulated processes are specific to one or a few tissues. Thus, it appears that the disparate physiological effects mediated by androgens begin with widely varying effects on gene expression in different androgen-sensitive tissues.
Conclusion: The analysis completed in this study will lead to an improved understanding of how androgens mediate diverse, tissue-specific processes and better ways to assess the tissue-selective effects of AR modulators during drug development.
By Maya Otto-Duessel, Miaoling He & Jeremy O Jones