Distribution of immunoreactive androgen-binding protein/sex hormone-binding globulin in tissues of the fetal rat.
Androgen-binding protein/sex hormone-binding globulin (ABP/SHBG) is an extracellular carrier protein that binds androgens and estrogens with high affinity. In the adult, ABP/SHBG is thought to function in the male reproductive system and the general circulation in both sexes to modulate the actions of sex steroids. The ABP/SHBG gene is also expressed in the embryonic rat liver, where SHBG is secreted into the fetal blood of male and female rats. The embryo also expresses an alternative SHBG with a unique N-terminal sequence. In this study, the distribution of immunoreactive SHBG in the 17-day-old male fetal rat was determined with six antisera. In general, all of the antisera reacted with the same structures. Specific tissue immunoreactivity was mostly cytoplasmic and/or extracellular. By far the most prominent immunoreactive structures were the mesoderm-derived tissues: connective tissue, striated and cardiac muscle, cartilage, and the liver hematopoietic system. In addition, all regions of the fetal brain contained immunoreactive neurons. In the developing male reproductive system, there was minor reactivity in the testicular cords, whereas the connective tissue in the differentiating Wolffian duct stained with all of the antisera. The Wolffian duct epithelium and epithelia in other developing organs contained small amounts of immunoreactive SHBG, except for the lung, which stained in the epithelial extracellular matrix. An antibody raised against a unique N-terminal peptide specific for the alternative SHBG protein revealed that it was also present in many tissues. These data suggest that SHBG is important for the differentiation of mesodermal tissues. SHBG may modulate the action of androgens in embryonic stroma, thereby regulating development of the epithelium in hormone-dependent tissues.
Becchis, M; Sullivan, PM; Ordronneau, P; Petrusz, P; Joseph, DR
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