The expression of estrogen receptor (ER) in the reproductive tracts of neonatal mice was examined using immunocytochemical and autoradiographic methods. Two strains of mice used in previous studies that reported contradictory results showed different rates of uterine epithelial development. In the inbred strain, BALB/c, the epithelium was devoid of receptor from birth through 5 days of age, while uterine epithelial cells of the outbred strain, CD-1, expressed ER as early as 3 days of age. Oviductal epithelium and cervical epithelium expressed ER on the day of birth in CD-1 mice. Glandular ontogeny in the uteri of CD-1 animals was also advanced by 3 days compared to that of BALB/c mice. These observations reconcile the conflicting reports of ER ontogeny in the neonatal mouse. More importantly, these results confirm our earlier observations, indicating that the cells lining uteri of 2- and 4-day-old BALB/c mice lack ER at a time when estrogen induces their proliferation.
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