TitleNormal ontogeny of perineal muscles and testosterone levels in Mongolian gerbils; response to testosterone in developing females.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsSiegford, JM, S Mansouri, H, Ulibarri, C
JournalAnat Rec A Discov Mol Cell Evol Biol
Date Published2003 Nov
KeywordsAnimals, Female, Gerbillinae, Male, Motor Neurons, Muscle Fibers, Skeletal, Muscle, Skeletal, Perineum, Sex Characteristics, Spinal Cord, Testosterone

The spinal nucleus of the bulbocavernosus (SNB) of Mongolian gerbils (Meriones unguiculatus) becomes sexually dimorphic during postnatal life, rather than prenatally as in rats. We therefore examined the early postnatal ontogeny of Mongolian gerbils, focusing on growth, serum testosterone (T) levels, and the sexually dimorphic perineal musculature innervated by the SNB. Serum T levels were higher in males than in females from birth through adulthood, with several early postnatal peaks and a large increase in T occurring during puberty in males. The SNB target muscles-the bulbocavernosus (BC) and levator ani (LA)-were present in both sexes on postnatal day 1 (PND1). Cross-sectional areas of BC fibers in males increased with age, and concurrently the myofibers of the BC became more fully developed and organized. In PND10 female pups, the BC muscle was virtually absent, while the LA muscle remained (although it was reduced in size). Postnatal treatment of female gerbils with androgen caused the BC muscle to remain and the LA muscle to become larger by PND10. Sexual dimorphism of the SNB develops differently in gerbils compared to other species, although its target muscles appear to respond to androgen in a manner similar to that in rats.

Alternate JournalAnat Rec A Discov Mol Cell Evol Biol
PubMed ID14533174