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The present study investigated the expression of androgen receptor (AR) in neurons of the anterior pelvic ganglion (APG) and celiac-superior mesenteric ganglion (CSMG; ganglion not involved in the innervation of reproductive organs) in the male pig with quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) and immunohistochemistry. qPCR investigations revealed that the level of AR gene expression in the APG tissue was approximately 2.5 times higher in the adult (180-day-old) than in the juvenile (7-day-old) boars. Furthermore, in both the adult and juvenile animals it was sig- nificantly higher in the APG than in CSMG tissue (42 and 85 times higher, respectively). Immu- nofluorescence results fully confirmed those obtained with qPCR. In the adult boars, nearly all adrenergic (DβH-positive) and the majority of non-adrenergic neurons in APG stained for AR. In the juvenile animals, about half of the adrenergic and non-adrenergic neurons were AR-posi- tive. In both the adult and juvenile animals, only solitary CSMG neurons stained for AR. The present results suggest that in the male pig, pelvic neurons should be considered as an element of highly testosterone-dependent autonomic circuits involved in the regulation of urogenital func- tion, and that their sensitization to androgens is a dynamic process, increasing during the prepu- bertal period.
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