Cross references: Intracellular Receptors Steroids Steroid Actions Testosterone Testosterone Receptor Testosterone Transcription Factor Criminal Testosterone Testosterone & Dominance
steroid hormone , that stimulates or controls the development and maintenance of male characteristics in vertebrates by binding to androgen receptors . This includes the activity of the accessory male sex organs and development of male secondary sex characteristics . Androgens were first discovered in 1936. Androgens are also the original anabolic steroids and the precursor of all estrogens , the female sex hormones. The primary and most well-known androgen is testosterone , other less important androgens are dihydrotestosterone and androstenedione ."
"Circulating levels of androgens can influence human behavior because some neurons are sensitive to steroid hormones. Androgen levels have been implicated in the regulation of human aggression  and libido. Indeed, androgens are capable of altering the structure of the brain in several species, including mice, rats, and primates, producing sex differences .  Numerous reports have outlined that androgens alone are capable of altering the structure of the brain,  however it is difficult to identify which alterations in neuroanatomy stem from androgens or estrogens, because of their potential for conversion."
Non-genomic actions of androgens.
"Previous work in the endocrine and neuroendocrine fields has viewed the androgen receptor (AR) as a transcription factor activated by testosterone or one of its many metabolites. The bound AR acts as transcription regulatory element by binding to specific DNA response elements in target gene promoters, causing activation or repression of transcription and subsequently protein synthesis."
"Androgen's rapid time course of action; its effects in the absence or inhibition of the cellular machinery necessary for transcription/translation; and in the absence of translocation to the nucleus suggest a method of androgen action not initially dependent on genomic mechanisms (i.e. non-genomic in nature)."
For an example see: Teleost Dominance Hierarchies .
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