Exposure to 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) during the fetal and neonatal periods has been indicated to alter the development of the offspring later in life. In this study, we determined whether perinatal exposure to a low dose of TCDD alffects the onset of puberty in the female offspring of Long-Evans hooded rats. On day 15 of gestation, pregnant female rats were administered TCDD by gavage at a single dose of 0 (vehicle), 200, or 800 ng/kg b.w. In the female offspring born to dams administered with TCDD at either 200 or 800 ng/kg b.w, the vaginal opening and first estrus occurred ∼ 4-7 days earlier than in the offspring born to vehicle-treated animals. The ovarian weight gain was also accelerated following exposure to TCDD in a dose-dependent manner. We next examined the ovarian compensatory hypertrophy (OCH) as an indicator of the maturation of the LH/GnRH-generating system in the pituitary and the hypothalamus. Exposure to TCDD accelerated the onset of OCH in the female offspring in a dose-dependent manner. In particular, in the ofspring born to the dams exposed to TCDD at 800 ng/ kg b.w, hypertrophy, which is characterized by hyperovulation and a marked increase in the weight of the remaining ovary after hemi-ovariectomy, was observed on postnatal days 27-30, which was 10 days earlier than in the offspring born to the vehicle-treated dams. These results indicate that perinatal exposure to a low dose of TCDD induces precocious puberty, including early maturation of the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, the gonads and genitals, in female Long-Evans hooded rats.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism