Androgens are steroid hormones that are necessary for normal male phenotype expression, including the outward development of secondary sex characteristics as well as the initiation and maintenance of spermatogenesis. Many physiological actions of androgens are mediated by the androgen receptor (AR), a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily. AR functions as a ligand-dependent transcription factor, regulating expression of an array of target genes that are important in male pubertal development and fertility. In this review, the expression and necessity of AR in specific testicular cell types that are important in spermatogenesis will be discussed, and recent information obtained through the study of complete and cell type-specific AR null mouse models will be presented.
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