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Reprod Toxicol. 2002 May-Jun;16(3):259-68.

Comparative estrogenic effects of p-nonylphenol by 3-day uterotrophic assay and female pubertal onset assay.

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  • 1Endocrine Toxicology Division, National Institute of Toxicological Research, Korea Food and Drug Administration, 5 Nokbun-dong, Eunpyung-ku, Seoul 122-704, South Korea.

Abstract

Nonylphenol (NP) is widely used as a component of detergents, paints, pesticides, and many other formulated products. Several studies have demonstrated that NP is estrogenic in fish, avian, and mammalian cells. NP also competitively inhibits the binding of 17 beta-estradiol (E2) to the estrogen receptor (ER). However, there are relatively few in vivo data related to this issue in mammals. The aim of this study was to investigate the estrogenic activity of NP in animal models. We performed a 3-day uterotrophic assay using immature female rats for comparison with other endpoints of Tier I screening including vaginal opening (VO) in prepubertal intact female rats. For the uterotrophic assay, diethylstilbestrol (DES) (0.2 and 1.0 microg/kg) and p-NP (10, 25, 50, 100, and 200 mg/kg) were administered subcutaneously to immature Sprague-Dawley female rats for 3 consecutive days (postnatal days (PND) 20, 21, and 22). For the female pubertal onset assay, DES (0.2, 1.0, and 5.0 microg/kg) and p-NP (10, 50, and 100 mg/kg) were administered daily by oral gavage from 21 days of age for 20 days. In the uterotrophic assay, statistically significant increases in uterine wet weight were observed at doses of 100 and 200 mg/kg p-NP. DES (0.2 and 1.0 microg/kg) also significantly increased uterine weight compared to the vehicle control. In the female pubertal onset assay, the age of VO was advanced following oral exposure to DES (1.0 and 5.0 microg/kg) and p-NP (50 and 100 mg/kg). Estrous cyclicity was monitored in prepubertal rats from the day of VO to the day of necropsy. Irregular estrous cycles were observed in the groups treated with DES (5.0 microg/kg) and p-NP (50 and 100 mg/kg). High-dose DES (5.0 microg/kg) produced a persistent estrus state, whereas p-NP (50 and 100 mg/kg) increased the number of days in diestrus. Serum thyroxine (T(4)) concentrations were decreased in a dose-dependent manner by DES and p-NP treatment. A significant decrease in serum T(4) level was observed at high-dose DES (5.0 microg/kg) and p-NP (100 mg/kg). Serum TSH level was significantly increased by DES (5.0 microg/kg) treatment. Statistically significant decreases in ovarian weight were observed in female rats treated with DES (5.0 microg/kg) and p-NP (100 mg/kg). Our data demonstrate that p-NP can accelerate the onset of puberty and alter estrous cyclicity in prepubertal female rats at oral doses lower than the subcutaneous doses typically used in the uterotrophic assay. We therefore suggest that the female pubertal onset assay may be used as a sensitive testing method to detect environmental agents with weak estrogenic activity, but requires further research.

PMID:
12128099
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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