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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2006 Sep 1;215(2):135-45. Epub 2006 Mar 31.

Polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE)-induced alterations in vitamin A and thyroid hormone concentrations in the rat during lactation and early postnatal development.

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Department of Nutrition, University of California-Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.


In experimental animals fed standard laboratory diets, penta-BDE mixtures can decrease circulating thyroid hormone and liver vitamin A concentrations. A substantial number of pregnant women and their children have marginal vitamin A status, potentially increasing their risk of adverse effects to penta-BDE exposure. The current study investigated the effects of maternal gestational and lactational penta-BDE exposure on thyroid hormone and vitamin A homeostasis in rats of sufficient vitamin A (VAS) or marginal vitamin A (VAM) status and their offspring. Dams were administered daily oral doses of 18 mg/kg DE-71 (a penta-BDE mixture) or a corn oil vehicle from gestation day 6 through lactation day (LD) 18. Thyroid hormone and vitamin A homeostasis were assessed in plasma and tissues of LD 19 dams and postnatal day (PND) 12, 18, and 31 pups. DE-71 exposure induced hepatomegaly in VAS and VAM pups at all timepoints and increased testes weights at PND 31. While liver vitamin A concentrations were low in DE-71 treated dams and pups, plasma retinol concentrations and plasma retinol binding protein levels were only low in VAM animals exposed to DE-71. DE-71 exposure lowered plasma thyroxine concentrations in VAS and VAM dams and pups. Plasma thyroid stimulating hormone concentrations were high in VAM dams exposed to DE-71, suggesting that marginal vitamin A status enhances the susceptibility to thyroid hormone axis disruption by DE-71. These results support the concept that marginal vitamin A status in pregnant women may increase the risk for PBDE-induced disruptions in vitamin A and thyroid hormone homeostasis.

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