We previously reported that neonatal exposure to 17α-ethynylestradiol (EE) led to delayed adverse effects in which age-related anovulation after sexual maturation was accelerated. To identify early indicators of these adverse effects, female Wistar Hannover GALAS rats received a single EE injection (0, 0.02, 0.2, 2, 20, or 200 μg/kg) within 24 hr of birth. Histopathological changes in ovarian and uterine development were investigated from postnatal day (PND) 14 to 10 weeks of age. Immunohistochemical expression of estrogen receptor alpha (ERα) in the uterus, serum levels of sex-related hormones and gene expression in the hypothalamus were examined. Although neonatal exposure to EE did not affect body growth or ovarian development, serum FSH tended to decrease at doses ≥ 2 μg/kg, and Kiss1 mRNA level in the whole hypothalamus was significantly decreased in all EE-treated groups at PND14.The number of uterine glands at PND21 was suppressed at doses ≥ 20 μg/kg, and ERα expression in the uterine epithelium at estrus stage decreased in a dose-dependent manner at 10 weeks of age. These results demonstrated that the various identified changes that occurred before the appearance of delayed adverse effects could be candidate early indicators.
2014 The Japanese Society of Toxicology