Expression of the c-myc gene was studied in the livers of male and female Wistar rats. Furthermore, the effects on hepatic c-myc expression of neonatal and adult castration, with or without testosterone supplementation, as well as of continuous administration of GH to intact males, were analysed. Expression of c-myc was low in 6-day-old animals of both sexes, reached a maximum at 35 days of age and declined to the level of adult animals at 70 days. In prepubertal animals, expression was higher in females, but was higher in males after the onset of puberty, the postpubertal female rat liver exhibiting 50-70% of the expression in males. Treatment of adult male rats with bovine GH in osmotic minipumps for 1 week reduced c-myc expression to the level of female rats. Castration, both neonatally and of adults, also feminized hepatic c-myc expression. Testosterone supplementation of the castrated animals increased the expression towards the level in sham-operated controls. These results indicate that the c-myc gene is regulated by the hypothalamo-pituitary-liver axis via the sex-differentiated pattern of GH secretion, in analogy with other sex-differentiated hepatic functions, such as metabolism of steroids and xenobiotics. Neuroendocrine regulation of a gene such as c-myc, which is involved in the control of cell proliferation and differentiation, represents another aspect of the complex influence of GH on various somatic functions.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology