Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, New York, New York 10027.
Temporal constraints on androgen regulated masculinization of three sexually dimorphic laryngeal properties--tension, fiber type, and fiber recruitment--were examined in Xenopus laevis frogs. Endocrine state was manipulated at PM0 when the larynx is similar in males and females, at PM2 when the larynx begins sexual differentiation, and at PM6 when sexual differentiation is complete. Removing the testes in developing males (PM0 or PM2) completely arrests laryngeal masculinization. Masculinization resumes when testosterone is replaced later in development (PM2 or PM6, respectively). Thus, testicular secretions, in particular androgens, are required for laryngeal masculinization. The ability of androgens to masculinize tension, fiber type, and fiber recruitment in developing and adult larynges was also determined. Five weeks of testosterone treatment in PM0 or PM2 males and females completely masculinizes laryngeal tension and fiber type, but only partially masculinizes fiber recruitment. However, fiber recruitment can be fully masculinized in PM6 males castrated at PM2. We conclude that androgen induced masculinization of tension and fiber type are not temporally constrained but that androgen induced masculinization of fiber recruitment is. Prolonged androgen treatment can override the temporal constraints on masculinization of the larynx. Testosterone treatment for more than 6 months fully masculinizes fiber recruitment in developing (PM0 or PM2) females. In addition, prolonged treatment (greater than 9 months) completely masculinizes tension, fiber type, and fiber recruitment in adult females; these properties were not fully masculinized by shorter (1-3 months) treatments in adult females. Testosterone induced masculinization in females is maintained for up to 8 months following testosterone removal; thus androgen effects are long lasting and possibly permanent.