The effects of aromatase and 5 α-reductase inhibitors, antiandrogen, and sex steroids on Bidder's organs development and gonadal differentiation in Bufo bufo tadpoles

Stefania Petrini, Francesco Zaccanti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Embryos of toads (Bufo bufo) were treated with aromatase (4-OHA) and 5α-reductase (17βC) inhibitors, antiandrogen (CPA), estradiol-17β, testosterone, and 5α-dihydrotestosterone in order to study the role played by sex steroids in the development and sex differentiation of gonads. Test compounds were administered to tadpoles in water and morphometric and cytometric analyses were carried out on histological sections of the cephalic Bidder's organ (a rudimentary ovary) and of the gonadal region. In Bidder's organs, the number and size of oogonia and oocytes were modified by the treatments. However, the female commitment of the Bidder's organ occurs independently from steroid treatments that lead to an acceleration or slackening of the processes of proliferation and differentiation of oogonia. 4-OHA and androgens caused various degrees of inhibition of ovarian differentiation, with gonads maintaining an undifferentiated condition. Estrogen provoked a shift of the sex ratio towards the female sex, yet slackened gonadal growth. 17βC accelerated ovarian differentiation in females while CPA enhanced gonadal differentiation in both sexes by promoting the germ and somatic cell proliferation. We suggest that sex hormones may have a local regulatory role in gonadal differentiation during early developmental stages. Furthermore, the strong tendency of Bidderian germ cells to develop in the oogenetic way regardless of sex genotype and steroid treatments, and the quantitative sex differences found in the control Bidder's organs and gonads, suggest that other factors (such as intracellular mechanisms) may be involved in the initial steps of the process of germ cell differentiation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-259
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Experimental Zoology
Volume280
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 15 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

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