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Toxicol Sci. 2008 Mar;102(1):33-41. Epub 2007 Nov 20.

Mechanisms of interaction of endocrine-disrupting chemicals with glutamate-evoked secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone.

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  • 1Developmental Neuroendocrinology Unit, Centre for Cellular and Molecular Neurobiology, University of Liège, University Hospital, Belgium.


In previous studies, we detected a dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) derivative in the serum of children with sexual precocity after migration from developing countries. Recently, we reported that DDT stimulated pulsatile gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) secretion and sexual maturation in the female rat. The aim of this study was to delineate the mechanisms of interaction of endocrine-disrupting chemicals including DDT with GnRH secretion evoked by glutamate in vitro. Using hypothalamic explants obtained from 15-day-old female rats, estradiol (E2) and DDT caused a concentration-related increase in glutamate-evoked GnRH release while p,p'-dichlorodiphenyldichloroethene and methoxychlor had no effect. The effective DDT concentrations in vitro were consistent with the serum concentrations measured in vivo 5 days after exposure of immature rats to 10 mg/kg/day of o,p'-DDT. Bisphenol A induced some stimulatory effect, whereas no change was observed with 4-nonylphenol. The o,p'-DDT effects in vitro were prevented partially by a selective antagonist of the alpha-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic acid (AMPA) subtype of glutamate receptors. A complete prevention of o,p'-DDT effects was caused by an estrogen receptor (ER) antagonist as well as an aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) antagonist and inhibitors of protein kinases A and C and mitogen-activated kinases. While an intermittent incubation with E2 caused no change in amplification of the glutamate-evoked GnRH release for 4 h, continuous incubation with E2 or o,p'-DDT caused an increase of this amplification after 3.5 h of incubation. In summary, DDT amplifies the glutamate-evoked GnRH secretion in vitro through rapid and slow effects involving ER, AHR, and AMPA receptor mediation.

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