5 years ago

Specific effects of prenatal DEHP exposure on neuroendocrine gene expression in the developing hypothalamus of male rats

Yujing Huang, Caifeng Zhang, Lina Wu, Long Dao, Na Gao, Zengrong Sun, Xutong Wang, Yongzhe Liu, Weiling Yin, Andrea C. Gore, Ruixia Hu


Endocrine disrupting chemicals may disrupt developing neuroendocrine systems, especially when the exposure occurs during a critical period. This study aimed to investigate whether prenatal exposure to di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), a major component of plasticizers used worldwide, disrupted the development of a network of genes important for neuroendocrine function in male rats. Pregnant rats were treated with corn oil (vehicle control), 2, 10 or 50 mg/kg DEHP by gavage from gestational day 14 to 19. The neuroendocrine gene expressions were quantified using a 48-gene Taqman qPCR array in the whole hypothalamus of neonatal rats (postnatal day 1) and in the anteroventral periventricular nucleus (AVPV), medial preoptic nucleus (MPN) and arcuate nucleus (ARC) of adult rats (postnatal day 70). Immunofluorescent signals of ERα and CYP19 were detected using the confocal microscopy in adult AVPV, MPN and ARC. The results showed that prenatal DEHP exposure perturbed somatic and reproductive development of offspring. Eleven genes were down-regulated in neonatal hypothalamus and showed non-monotonic dose–response relationships, that the 10 mg/kg DEHP dosage was associated with the greatest number of gene expression changes. Different from this, 14 genes were altered in adult AVPV, MPN and ARC and most of alterations were found in the 50 mg/kg DEHP group. Also, 50 mg/kg DEHP reduced ERα expression in the ARC, but no alterations were observed in CYP19 expression. These results indicated that prenatal DEHP exposure may perturb hypothalamic gene programming and the influences are permanent. The effects showed dependence on developmental stages and nuclei region.

Publisher URL: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00204-017-2049-z

DOI: 10.1007/s00204-017-2049-z

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