The anococcygeus muscle (AcM) is one of a pair of thin sheets of smooth muscle inserting on the rectum, having a tendinous origin largely on sacral vertebrae. The cross-sectional area of AcM in the juxtarectal region in 90-day-old male mice was significantly larger than that in females of three strains: BALB/cCrgl, ICR/Jcl and C57BL/Tw. The AcM area in female mice showed strain differences: BALB/c>ICR>C57BL. Five daily injections of testosterone into newborn ICR mice from the day of birth significantly increased the areas of AcM in both sexes at 30 days of age, but five daily injections of oestradiol-17β (OE) decreased them. The AcM area in 60-day-old ICR male mice castrated at 30 days of age was significantly smaller than in intact males, and that in ovariectomized females was significantly larger than in intact females. In both sexes, implantation of a testosterone pellet (12 mg) into gonadectomized mice on the day of gonadectomy stimulated the growth of AcM, and implantation of an OE pellet (12 mg) inhibited the growth of AcM. The AcM in both ICR and C57BL strains showed positive androgen receptor and oestrogen receptor immunostaining at 15 days. Female ICR mice exposed neonatally to diethylstilboestrol (DES) had significantly larger AcM than controls; ovariectomy at 30 days of age did not change the AcM area in 60-day-old DES-exposed mice. However, male mice exposed neonatally to DES had significantly smaller AcM than controls; castration at 30 days of age nullified this inhibition. These results suggest that both androgen and oestrogen play an important role in sexual dimorphism of the mouse AcM. Neonatal exposure to DES (but not to oestradiol) had an irreversible stimulatory effect on the AcM area in female mice.
Journal of Endocrinology (1997) 152, 229–237