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Biol Reprod. 1988 May;38(4):945-54.

Response of the mouse uterus to nafoxidine stimulation: agonism and antagonism.

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  • 1Laboratory of Reproductive and Developmental Toxicology, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709.


Nafoxidine (NAF) acts as an estrogen agonist or antagonist depending on the animal model used. In the CD-1 mouse uterus, a three-day uterine bioassay of NAF produced a bell-shaped dose response curve with a maximal uterine wet weight increase at 200 micrograms/kg; this dose produced only a fractional increase in uterine dry weight. Combination treatment with NAF and estradiol antagonized estradiol stimulation of both wet and dry weight parameters. The time course of uterine wet weight stimulation following a single injection of NAF had an early pattern (0-10 h) similar to that of estradiol. However, at later times after stimulation, the patterns changed dramatically: the low NAF dose (200 micrograms/kg) returned to control levels by 24 h; estradiol and the high dose NAF (1.7 mg/kg) showed sustained stimulation, which peaked at 36 h with NAF compared to 24 h for estradiol. Nuclear estrogen receptor (ER) levels were measured after a single injection of 1.7 mg/kg NAF and showed a bimodal pattern similar to that seen with estradiol, with increases at 1 h and 8 h, although the overall ER levels were elevated above those seen with estradiol. Cytosolic ER levels with NAF decreased by 1 h and remained low up to 48 h. NAF treatment did stimulate uterine DNA and RNA synthesis, with a delayed time course compared to estradiol. DNA synthesis following a single 1.7 mg/kg dose of NAF was 2.5 times higher than that produced by 20 micrograms/kg estradiol. NAF treatment resulted in hypertrophy and hyperplasia in the luminal epithelium but not in the glandular epithelium. Long-term exposure to estradiol for 5 wk resulted in development of uterine cystic glandular hyperplasia and increased secretory activity; long-term exposure to NAF produced a more significant tissue hyperplasia but no secretions. These studies show that NAF stimulates some of the receptor-mediated responses attributed to an estrogen agonist in the mouse uterus; but, when co-administered with estradiol, NAF antagonizes some aspects of estrogen action.

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