Androgens reduce cell death in the developing rat visual cortex

J. L. Nuñez, H. A. Jurgens, J. M. Juraska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have previously shown that males have more neurons than females in the primary visual cortex, and neonatal androgens play an important role in this difference. Also, we have found that females experience more cell death during development in this region than in males. Therefore, we hypothesized that the neonatal hormone environment directly influences the amount of cell death. In the present experiment, female rats were implanted with dihydrotestosterone (DHT) or estradiol at postnatal day 1. These animals, along with control males and females, were sacrificed on postnatal days 6, 11 and 25. Using unbiased stereology to quantify neuronal and pyknotic cell density, we observed that females implanted with DHT had a similar pattern and proportion of cells dying as control males. Additionally, developmental cell death in females implanted with estradiol was not significantly different than control females. Thus, neonatal androgens have an inhibitory effect on developmental cell death in the rat primary visual cortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)83-88
Number of pages6
JournalDevelopmental Brain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Dec 29 2000


  • Apoptosis
  • Cerebral cortex
  • Sex differences
  • Stereology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology


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