Simultaneous measurements were made of the specific oestrogen receptor in the nuclear and cytosol fractions prepared from the uterus and hypothalamus of 50–81-day-old female rats undergoing a 4-day oestrous cycle. In the uterus, the content of nuclear receptor fluctuated in concert with known cyclic changes in the secretion of oestrogen, being maximal at pro-oestrus. Over the period of 50–81 days, the nuclear content at all phases increased with age, again corresponding to known age-related increases in ovarian secretion of oestrogen. This age-related increase in nuclear content, averaged from the values of the different phases in each age group, was related to equivalent increases in uterine wet weight, an increase of 1 pmol of receptor being accompanied by an increase of 80–90 mg. The concentration of cytosol receptor was maintained constant, with respect to wet weight, throughout the cycle and with age, irrespective of changes in nuclear content. In the uterus of normal mature females, translocation of receptor into the nucleus did not lead to depletion of cytosol receptor, suggesting a process of continuous replenishment/synthesis. In the hypothalamus, the nuclear content of oestrogen receptor was also maximal at pro-oestrus. In contrast with the uterus, the content of hypothalamic cytosol receptor was minimal at this phase and reflects depletion of the cytosol receptor, possibly as a result of translocation. The extent of translocation was low compared with that in the uterus and did not alter with age during the age-period studied. This low nuclear binding of the receptor in vivo is discussed in relation to the presence of a cytosol factor, present in limiting amounts, which in vitro mediates the binding of cytosol receptor to oligo(dT)-cellulose. The difference in the physiological response of the uterus and of the hypothalamus to oestrogens may be related to the extent of nuclear binding of receptor.

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