Estrogenicity of food-associated estrogenic compounds in the fetuses of female transgenic mice upon oral and IP maternal exposure

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The present study investigated to what extent seven food-associated in vitro estrogenic compounds can induce estrogenic effects in the fetuses of pregnant female mice with an estrogen receptor (ER)-mediated luciferase (luc) reporter gene system. The luc-induction was determined either 8 h after maternal dosing with a single intraperitoneal (IP) dose or 24 h after the last of a series of 8 daily oral dosages. Three known estrogens, 17ß-estradiol (E2), 17¿-ethynylestradiol (EE) and 17ß-estradiol 3,17-dipropionate (EP) were used as positive controls at 1 mg/kg bw and DMSO as solvent control. The food-associated estrogenic compounds tested were: bisphenol A (BPA), nonylphenol (NP) both at 50 mg/kg bw, dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p¿-DDE) at 50 mg/kg bw, quercetin at 16.6 mg/kg bw, and di-isoheptyl phthalate (DIHP), di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) and di-(2-ethylhexyl) adipate (DEHA) all at 100 mg/kg bw. Exposure to E2, EE and EP resulted in significant luc inductions upon both oral and/or IP dosing in a variety of tissues including liver, tibia and femurs, and upon IP dosing also in fetuses. BPA, NP, DEHA, DEHP, DIHP, DDE and quercetin were unable to significantly induce luc activity in fetuses. However, after maternal oral exposure during gestation to NP, BPA and DIHP placental luc activity was significantly lowered. The results indicate that at the current levels of exposure to food-associated estrogenic compounds, estrogenic effects to the fetus are not expected. The significant luc reduction in the placenta, should be further studied for its significance for fetal development and relevance for the human situation
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-139
JournalReproductive Toxicology
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • sprague-dawley rats
  • in-utero exposure
  • bisphenol-a
  • sexual development
  • androgen receptor
  • phthalate-esters
  • gene-expression
  • pregnant rats
  • cancer-risk
  • wistar rats


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