U.S. Environmental Protection Agency


Date of this Version



Published in JOURNAL OF MORPHOLOGY (2011) 272: 698–703; DOI: 10.1002/jmor.10936


The expression of estrogen receptors, ESR1 (ERα) and ESR2 (ERβ), and androgen receptors (AR) in the thyroid gland has been reported in few vertebrate species other than a few mammals. This study reports the presence of sex steroid hormone receptors and thyroid receptors (ERα, ERβ, AR, TRα, and TRβ) in the thyroid gland of the American alligator at several life stages. It provides a semiquantification and distribution of ERα in the thyroid follicle cells using an immunohistochemical approach as well as reports quantitative differences in mRNA expression of ERα, ERβ, TRα, TRβ, and AR in the same tissue using quantitative real time-PCR (Q-PCR) with primers designed specifically for alligators. The thyroid tissue of the American alligator expresses ERα, ERβ, and AR at all of the life stages examined here although no statistically significant differences were observed between male and female in thyroid mRNA expression for any of the genes analyzed. No sexual dimorphism was observed in ERα immunostaining. No statistical analysis across life stages were performed due to confounding factor of season.