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Fundam Appl Toxicol. 1997 Nov;40(1):138-57.

The effects of perinatal/juvenile methoxychlor exposure on adult rat nervous, immune, and reproductive system function.

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National Toxicology Program, NIEHS, North Carolina 27709, USA.


In order to address data gaps identified by the NAS report Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children, a study was performed using methoxychlor (MXC). Female rats were gavaged with MXC at 0, 5, 50, or 150 mg/kg/day for the week before and the week after birth, whereupon the pups were directly dosed with MXC from postnatal day (pnd) 7. Some dams were killed pnd7 and milk and plasma were assayed for MXC and metabolites. For one cohort of juveniles, treatment stopped at pnd21; a modified functional observational battery was used to assess neurobehavioral changes. Other cohorts of juveniles were dosed until pnd42 and evaluated for changes to the immune system and for reproductive toxicity. Dose-dependent amounts of MXC and metabolites were present in milk and plasma of dams and pups. The high dose of MXC reduced litter size by approximately 17%. Ano-genital distance was unchanged, although vaginal opening was accelerated in all treated groups, and male prepuce separation was delayed at the middle and high doses by 8 and 34 days, respectively. In the neurobehavioral evaluation, high-dose males were more excitable, but other changes were inconsistent and insubstantial. A decrease in the antibody plaque-forming cell response was seen in males only. Adult estrous cyclicity was disrupted at 50 and 150 MXC, doses which also showed reduced rates of pregnancy and delivery. Uterine weights (corrected for pregnancy) were reduced in all treated pregnant females. High-dose males impregnated fewer untreated females; epididymal sperm count and testis weight were reduced at the high, or top two, doses, respectively. All groups of treated females showed uterine dysplasias and less mammary alveolar development; estrous levels of follicle stimulating hormone were lower in all treated groups, and estrus progesterone levels were lower at 50 and 150 MXC, attributed to fewer corpora lutea secondary to ovulation defects. These data collectively show that the primary adult effects of early exposure to MXC are reproductive, show that 5 mg/kg/day is not a NO(A)EL in rats with this exposure paradigm (based on changes in day of vaginal opening, pubertal ovary weights, adult uterine and seminal vesicle weights, and female hormone data) and imply that the sites of action are both central and peripheral.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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