Sex steroids have been shown to have a marked effect on the physiologic activities of the liver and the gastrointestinal tract. We performed autoradiographic studies using [3H]estradiol and [3H]dihydrotestosterone on male and female baboons for the purpose of identifying estrogen or androgen receptors, or both, in the liver, pancreas, stomach, and small and large intestines of baboons. Evidence for the presence of estrogen and androgen receptors was made apparent by high concentrations of silver grains over the nuclei of the cells of these tissues. Androgen receptors were largely confined to the nuclei of the smooth muscle cells of the tunica muscularis of the gut wall and the connective tissue interstitial cells of the liver, pancreas, stomach, and intestines. Estrogen receptors were prominent in the nuclei of the vascular smooth muscle cells in the liver, pancreas, gut, and the majority of the endocrine islet cells. These observations suggest that a variety of different cell types of the liver, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract contain estrogen and androgen receptors that might modulate their cellular activities and influence several different physiologic processes.
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