Journal of Endocrinology vol:78 issue:1 pages:31-8
Evidence is presented that the level of alpha 2u-globulin in the serum of male rats depends, at least in part, on neonatal androgens. After castration of adult animals the concentration of this protein falls but remains measurable, whereas in intact or ovariectomized female rats alpha 2u-globulin cannot be detected. Moreover, alpha 2u-globulin is found in adult male and female rats gonadectomized at birth and treated with a single injection of testosterone propionate immediately thereafter. The mechanism by which neonatal androgens increase the concentration of alpha 2u-globulin has been investigated. Transplantation of a supplementary pituitary gland under the renal capsule of male rats resulted in reduced levels of alpha 2u-globulin and increased levels of transcortin. The changes discussed here were observed only in those animals in which the transplant was functional and they were amplified or reversed by modulators of prolactin secretion such as oestrogens or bromocriptine respectively. The hypothesis is advanced that neonatal androgens stimulate the production of a hypothalamic inhibitory factor that controls the secretion of prolactin, or another hypophysial hormone subjected to similar neuroendocrine control. Measurements in gonadectomized animals and in rats receiving both oestradiol benzoate and bromocriptine indicate that, besides these pituitary-mediated effects, both oestrogens and androgens exert direct effects on the level of alpha 2u-globulin.