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Endocr J. 2009;56(1):131-9. Epub 2008 Nov 8.

Neonatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol alters expression of DNA methyltransferases and methylation of genomic DNA in the mouse uterus.

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  • 1Department of Bioenvironmental Medicine, Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, Japan.


Perinatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol (DES) can have numerous adverse effects on the reproductive organs later in life, such as vaginal clear-cell adenocarcinoma. Epigenetic processes including DNA methylation may be involved in the mechanisms. We subcutaneously injected DES to neonatal C57BL/6 mice. At days 5, 14, and 30, expressions of DNA methyltransferases (Dnmts) Dnmt1, Dnmt3a, and Dnmt3b, and transcription factors Sp1 and Sp3 were examined. We also performed restriction landmark genomic scanning (RLGS) to detect aberrant DNA methylation. Real-time RT-PCR revealed that expressions of Dnmt1, Dnmt3b, and Sp3 were decreased at day 5 in DES-treated mice, and that those of Dnmt1, Dnmt3a, and Sp1 were also decreased at day 14. RLGS analysis revealed that 5 genomic loci were demethylated, and 5 other loci were methylated by DES treatment. Two loci were cloned, and differential DNA methylation was quantified. Our results indicated that DES altered the expression levels of Dnmts and DNA methylation.

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