Glucocorticoids regulate the expression of many liver-specific genes via glucocorticoid receptors. The presence of glucocorticoid receptors in liver has been reported in many mammalian species but not in nude mice. In the present study, we demonstrate the presence of specific glucocorticoid receptors in nude mouse liver. The binding of ligands to these receptors could be completely inhibited by RU486, and partially blocked by hydrocortisone and progesterone,whereas estrogen and testosterone had no effect. Hydrocortisone downregulated the level of glucocorticoid receptors in livers of nude mice and correspondingly enhanced the activities of tyrosine aminotransferase and γ-glutamyltransferase. Our results indicate that glucocorticoid receptors in nude mouse liver are specific, fully functional, and present at levels 28.5-fold higher than in the liver of normal inbred mice. We suggest that the nude mouse is a valuable model for studies of hepatic glucocorticoid action and may provide a clue to a putative hepatic-thymic interaction.

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