Immunohistochemical localization of sex hormone receptors in two Raillietina tapeworms.
Sex hormone receptors play critical roles in development and reproduction. However, it is not known whether they exist in Raillietina tapeworms, and if they do, whether they have a similar function to that in vertebrates. We examined the immunohistochemical distributions of androgen receptors (ARs), estrogen receptors (ERs), and progesterone receptors (PRs) in the tissues of two tapeworm species: Raillietina echinobothrida and Raillietina tetragona. Immunopositive ARs were found in the entire reproductive system of R. echinobothrida, including the testes, ovaries, and oocysts, and weakly immunopositive ERs and PRs were found in the testes, ovaries, and oocysts. Immunopositive ARs were also found throughout the entire reproductive system of R. tetragona, including the testes, ovaries, and oocysts, and weakly immunopositive ERs were in the testes and oocysts; the PRs were distributed in an immunonegative manner. The results show that androgens and their receptors play critical roles in reproductive system development in the two tapeworms. The immunoreactivity and tissue localizations of the sex hormone receptors suggest that, in both species, they have similar functions as in vertebrates, and modulate reproduction.