Transient and continued fetal/neonatal hypothyroidism affects epididymis, leydig cell and sertoli cell development

E. Rijntjes, J.J.M. Swarts, A.T.B. van Kesteren-Buiting, K.J. Teerds

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterProfessional


TRANSIENT AND CONTINUED FETAL/NEONATAL HYPOTHYROIDISM AFFECTS EPIDIDYMIS, LEYDIG CELL AND SERTOLI CELL DEVELOPMENT Previously the effects of neonatal hypothyroidism on testes development have been investigated using propyl-thiouracil (PTU) treatment. These studies showed that PTU induced hypothyroidism delayed the development of epididymis, Sertoli and Leydig cells. Recently it has been demonstrated that PTU influences Leydig cell function and possibly development directly, making it difficult to interpret the former data. In the present study a mild form of hypothyroidism was induced already during fetal development. Dams were fed an iodide-poor diet to which perchlorate was added to deplete endogenous iodide stores, or received a control diet (iodide content according to the AIN-93 guidelines, 0% perchlorate). The hypothyroid diet was continued up to 0, 7, 14, 28, 35 of age, or continued through life (continuous hypothyroidism). Pups were sacrificed between days 16 and 85 after birth. No significant differences in testes development were found if treatment was discontinued at the age of 0 or 7 days. Transient hypothyroidism (14 or 28 days) resulted in a decrease in body and testis weight of the pups (reduced up to 70% of the control group). Leydig cell proliferation, as identified by BrdU and 3ß-HSD labelling, was slightly decreased by transient (>14d) and absolute hypothyroidism up to day 21 of age, and significantly increased above control levels from day 35 onwards. Plasma testosterone levels were significantly elevated from day 21 to day 42 post partum. In contrast to the controls, tubular lumen formation was significantly delayed in the testes of both transient and continuous hypothyroid rats. 5¿-reductase type 2 expression was decreased in the epididymis in the continuous hypothyroid group from day 28 onward. The data suggest that (transient) hypothyroidism over an age of 7 days influences both testis and epididymis maturation. Most strikingly however was the capacity of the continuous hypothyroid animals to reproduce at an age of 85 days although their body weight was reduced by 60-70%. Eddy Rijntjes, Department of Animal Sciences, Human and Animal Physiology Group, Marijkeweg 40, 6709 PG Wageningen, the Netherlands, tel: +31(0)317 482876, email
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Event32nd Annual Meeting of the European Thyroid Association -
Duration: 1 Sept 20075 Sept 2007


Conference32nd Annual Meeting of the European Thyroid Association


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