Author(s): Goyal HO, Braden TD, Cooke PS, Szewczykowski MA, Williams CS,
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Abstract Previously, we reported an association between estrogen receptor-alpha (ERalpha) upregulation and detrimental effects of neonatal diethylstilbestrol (DES) exposure in the rat penis. The objective of this study was to employ the ERalpha knockout (ERalphaKO) mouse model to test the hypothesis that ERalpha mediates DES effects in the developing penis. ERalphaKO and wild-type C57BL/6 mice received oil or DES at a dose of 0.2 microg/pup per day (0.1 mg/kg) on alternate days from postnatal days 2 to 12. Fertility was tested at 80-240 days of age and tissues were examined at 96-255 days of age. DES caused malformation of the os penis, significant reductions in penile length, diameter, and weight, accumulation of fat cells in the corpora cavernosa penis, and significant reductions in weight of the bulbospongiosus and levator ani muscles in wild-type mice. Conversely, ERalphaKO mice treated with DES developed none of the above abnormalities. While nine out of ten male mice sired pups in the wild-type/control group, none did in the wild-type/DES group. ERalphaKO mice, despite normal penile development, are inherently infertile. Both plasma and intratesticular testosterone levels were unaltered in the DES-treated wild-type or DES-treated ERalphaKO mice when compared with controls, although testosterone concentration was much higher in the ERalphaKO mice. Hence, the resistance of ERalphaKO mice to developing penile abnormalities provides unequivocal evidence of an obligatory role for ERalpha in mediating the harmful effects of neonatal DES exposure in the developing penis.
This article was published in Reproduction
and referenced in Andrology-Open Access