Castration inhibits biliary proliferation induced by bile duct obstruction: novel role for the autocrine trophic effect of testosterone. Academic Article uri icon


  • Increased cholangiocyte growth is critical for the maintenance of biliary mass during liver injury by bile duct ligation (BDL). Circulating levels of testosterone decline following castration and during cholestasis. Cholangiocytes secrete sex hormones sustaining cholangiocyte growth by autocrine mechanisms. We tested the hypothesis that testosterone is an autocrine trophic factor stimulating biliary growth. The expression of androgen receptor (AR) was determined in liver sections, male cholangiocytes, and cholangiocyte cultures [normal rat intrahepatic cholangiocyte cultures (NRICC)]. Normal or BDL (immediately after surgery) rats were treated with testosterone or antitestosterone antibody or underwent surgical castration (followed by administration of testosterone) for 1 wk. We evaluated testosterone serum levels; intrahepatic bile duct mass (IBDM) in liver sections of female and male rats following the administration of testosterone; and secretin-stimulated cAMP levels and bile secretion. We evaluated the expression of 17-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase 3 (17-HSD3, the enzyme regulating testosterone synthesis) in cholangiocytes. We evaluated the effect of testosterone on the proliferation of NRICC in the absence/presence of flutamide (AR antagonist) and antitestosterone antibody and the expression of 17-HSD3. Proliferation of NRICC was evaluated following stable knock down of 17-HSD3. We found that cholangiocytes and NRICC expressed AR. Testosterone serum levels decreased in castrated rats (prevented by the administration of testosterone) and rats receiving antitestosterone antibody. Castration decreased IBDM and secretin-stimulated cAMP levels and ductal secretion of BDL rats. Testosterone increased 17-HSD3 expression and proliferation in NRICC that was blocked by flutamide and antitestosterone antibody. Knock down of 17-HSD3 blocks the proliferation of NRICC. Drug targeting of 17-HSD3 may be important for managing cholangiopathies.

published proceedings

  • Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol

altmetric score

  • 1.85

author list (cited authors)

  • Yang, F., Priester, S., Onori, P., Venter, J., Renzi, A., Franchitto, A., ... Glaser, S.

citation count

  • 13

complete list of authors

  • Yang, Fuquan||Priester, Sally||Onori, Paolo||Venter, Julie||Renzi, Anastasia||Franchitto, Antonio||Munshi, Md Kamruzzaman||Wise, Candace||Dostal, David E||Marzioni, Marco||Saccomanno, Stefania||Ueno, Yoshiyuki||Gaudio, Eugenio||Glaser, Shannon

publication date

  • December 2011