Background/Aims: Responses of cremaster muscles and sacs from boys with undescended testis suggested less exposure against sympathetic, but more exposure against parasympathetic tonuses. Since the sympathetic tonus is androgen dependent, it has been suggested that androgens control the descent by influencing the sympathetic tonus. Therefore an experimental study was planned to evaluate the contractile responses of cremaster muscles according to locations of associated testes in rats subjected to intrauterine steroidal or non-steroidal anti-androgen exposure. Methods: Time-mated pregnancies were started in 18 rats. They were divided into three groups and each group was given physiologic saline, flutamide or cyproterone acetate (Androcur Depot). Flutamide was administered from day 15 to day 19, cyproterone acetate on day 15 of intra-uterine life. At twelve weeks of age the localization of testes was evaluated, cremaster muscles were removed, and contractile properties were studied. Twitch and tetanic contractions were recorded isometrically at 37 degrees C. Effects of verapamil and isoprenaline were investigated. Results were compared by ANOVA and p values less than 0.05 were considered significant. Results: Both testes of all available male offspring in the saline (n = 22) and cyproterone acetate-treated (n = 19) groups were in the scrotum. Sixty percent of males in the flutamide-treated group (n = 20) had undescended testes. Cremaster muscles of rats exposed to flutamide had a lower sensitivity to voltage sensitve Ca+2 channel blockade by verapamil (3 x 10(-4) mol/L, p < 0.05) and displayed greater contractile response to isoprenaline (10(-5) mol/L, p < 0.05). Alterations in contractile properties of the muscles did not differ according to localization of testes in rats subjected to flutamide exposure. Conclusions: CM in rats subjected to non-steroidal anti-androgen exposure revealed alterations that indicate a decrease in sympathetic tonus. Since non-steroidal anti-androgen also inhibits the descent, the present study provides experimental support for the involvement of sympathetic tonus in the androgenic control of testicular descent.