This study shows that in the liver of the oviparous lizard, Podarcis s. sicula, the estrogen receptor (ER) level increases during the reproductive period (spring) when vitellogenesis occurs. This phenomenon interested both unfilled and filled ER present in the cytosolic and nuclear fractions. The increase in unfilled cytosolic and filled nuclear receptor was positively correlated to the plasma level of vitellogenin. The level of liver ER approximated that of mammalian liver ER and, therefore, it is higher than that reported for the liver of several nonmammalian species. At electrofocusing, liver ER distributes in two pH ranges (pH 6.5-7.5 and 8.0-8.8, respectively). The first form predominated in nuclei of reproductive females or of spayed estrogenized females and could represent the activated form of receptor. Ovariectomy was followed by a decrease in liver ER which can be induced in spayed females by estradiol administration. Pituitary growth hormone (GH) seemed to exert a synergic effect on estradiol liver estrogen receptor regulation. In lizards treated both with estradiol and GH, in fact, there was a significant increase in nuclear filled ER rather than an increase in the level of total nuclear ER.
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