Androgen receptor action in the central nervous system

H. V. Heemers, D. J. Tindall

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


As the principal male sex steroids, androgens are indispensable for the development of the male phenotype and the achievement of male sexual maturation. In addition to their central roles in these processes, androgens are critical for the acquisition of multiple sexually dimorphic traits that are less visible. As such, androgens are key determinants of the sexual differentiation of the central nervous system (CNS), where they govern the masculinization of neural structures as well as the induction of male-typical behavior and cognitive function. Contrary to the situation in androgen-regulated reproductive tissues, knowledge about the target cells affected by androgen action in the CNS is limited. Similarly, identification of target genes is merely in its infancy. In this chapter, we provide an up-to-date overview of insights into the general mechanism of androgen action derived from well-characterized androgen-responsive model systems such as the prostate and explore the extent to which these insights can be extrapolated to the CNS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHormones, Brain and Behavior Online
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages16
ISBN (Print)9780080887838
StatePublished - Jan 1 2009


  • 5-Alpha-reductase
  • Androgen
  • Androgen receptor
  • Aromatase
  • Brain masculinization
  • Coactivator
  • Coregulator
  • Corepressor
  • Gender
  • Gene expression
  • Sexual dimorphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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