Effects of Altered Prenatal Hormonal Environment on Expression of Autoimmune Disease in NZB/NZW Mice
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F1 hybrid New Zealand Black (NZB) x New Zealand White (NZW) (NZB/NZW) mice spontaneously develop an autoimmune disease analogous to systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) . Testosterone exerts a powerful suppressive effect on this disorder in adult NZB/NZW mice. A series of experiments was designed to determine if disease would also be suppressed by exposing fetal NZB/NZW mice to increased testosterone. NZB/NZW mice that were derived from testosterone-treated dams and control NZB/NZW offspring were followed in a longevity study and had serial assays to assess development of SLE. Control male NZB/NZW fetuses had unexpectedly high serum estradiol, which decreased significantly with maternal testosterone treatment. The testosterone-exposed male NZB/NZW fetuses developed into adults that lived longer than male NZB/NZW controls. In male NZB/NZW fetuses whose mothers were administered testosterone, the naturally high level of circulating estradiol observed in untreated male fetuses was decreased significantly. This decrease was associated with an increase in longevity. This unique observation has important implications for fetal exposure to endocrine disruptors in the environment.
Walker SE, Keisler LW, Caldwell CW, Kier AB, Vom Saal FS. Effects of altered prenatal hormonal environment on expression of autoimmune disease in NZB/NZW mice. Environmental Health Perspectives, 1996;104 (Suppl 4):815-821.