Developmental effects of estrogen and PCBs in the reproductive tract of BALB/C mice

Jeanelle M Martinez, The University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at Houston


Many of the tumorigenic effects that result from neonatal exposure to both natural and synthetic estrogens resemble those found in humans exposed to diethylstilbestrol (DES) in utero. Using this established DES neonatal mouse model, my goal was to investigate long-term molecular and morphological effects of certain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) that are weakly estrogenic in adult mice. Focusing on the cervicovaginal (CV) tract, since this is where tumors develop in the BALB/c mouse, I first assessed the 17β-estradiol (E2) dose-response for expression of lactoferrin (LTF). LTF is a highly inducible estrogen biomarker that is permanently altered in uteri from neonatally treated mice. Treatments were administered via 5 subcutaneous injections beginning within 16 hrs after birth, days 1–5. The ontogeny of LTF expression from mouse CV tracts was determined by examining three different stages of life: pups, immature, and mature mice. Northern RNA analysis and immunohistochemistry showed that neonatal E 2 treatment both increases and decreases LTF expression. Early expression of LTF in the CV tract at all doses occurred in pups. In both immature and adult mice, increased LTF expression was dependent on whether E2 induced ovary-dependent or ovary-independent persistent vaginal cornification. Next, I studied biological responses from neonatally PCB exposed adult mice. As expected, using a neonatal uterine bioassay I showed that 2 ′4′6′-trichloro-4-biphenylol (OH-PCB-30), 2′3′4′ 5-tetrachloro-4-biphenyloI (OH-PCB-61), and OH-PCB-30/61 (50/50 mixture), were estrogenic causing a dose-dependent increase in uterine weight. Long-term effects of OH-PCB 30 [200 μg/pup/day] were most similar to E2 as seen by an increased uterine wet weight in day 50 mice similar to E2 [5 μg/pup/day] (141% and 140% of control, respectively). Another similarity between OH-PCB 30 and E2 neonatally treated mice was found in those sacrificed at 20 months of age. At these same doses CV tract squamous cell carcinoma induction was 43% of E2 treated mice and 47% of OH-PCB 30 treated mice. Differences were noted in adenoaquamous; cell carcinoma development, where 16% of OH-PCB-30 neonatally treated mice developed tumors versus 8% for E2. Based on these results using the neonatal mouse model, I conclude that the OH-PCBs tested are strongly estrogenic and tumorigenic showing dose-response relationships when exposure occurs during development of the reproductive tract in mice. These results may have important implications for risk assessment in determining the effects of xenoestrogens exposure early versus later in life.

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Recommended Citation

Martinez, Jeanelle M, "Developmental effects of estrogen and PCBs in the reproductive tract of BALB/C mice" (1999). Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest). AAI9942093.