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Androgen receptor signalling in the male adrenal facilitates X-zone regression, cell turnover and protects against adrenal degeneration during ageing

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Androgens are known to be an essential regulator of male health. Androgen receptor (AR) is widely expressed throughout the adrenal cortex, yet the wider role for androgen signalling in the adrenal remains underexplored. To investigate AR-dependent and AR-independent androgen signalling in the adrenal, we used a novel mouse model with a specific ablation of androgen receptor in the adrenal cortex with or without reduction of circulating androgen levels by castration. Our results describe AR expression in the human and mouse adrenal and highlight that the mouse is a viable model to investigate androgen signalling in the adrenal cortex. We show androgen signalling via AR is required for X-zone regression during puberty. Furthermore, cortex measurements define differences in X-zone morphology depending on whether circulating androgens or AR have been removed. We show androgens promote both cortical cell differentiation and apoptosis but are dispensable for the formation of the definitive cortex. Additionally, investigation of aged mice with AR ablation reveals severe cortex disruption, spindle cell hyperplasia and X-zone expansion. The data described herein demonstrates AR-signalling is required to facilitate X-zone regression, cell clearance and to protect against adrenal degeneration during ageing.

Original languageEnglish
JournalScientific Reports
Volume9
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)10457
ISSN2045-2322
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2019

ID: 57679403