Exposure to 17α-ethinyl estradiol during early pregnancy affects fetal growth and survival in mice

Nicole Meyer, Clarisa Guillermina Santamaria, Judith Elisabeth Müller, Anne Schumacher, Horacio Adolfo Rodriguez, Ana Claudia Zenclussen
Environmental Pollution2019
17a-ethinyl estradiol (EE2) is a synthetic compound widely used in the generation of contraceptive pills. EE2 is present in the urine of women taking contraceptives and its presence has been confirmed at increasing concentrations contaminating rivers all over the world. Because of this cycle, it can entry the human food chain when watering plants. A negative influence of EE2 on fertility and reproductive ca- pacity of wildlife was already suggested. The short-term impact of exposure to contaminating EE2 on pregnancy outcome has not been addressed. Pregnant mice were exposed to either 0.005 mg (concentrations found in water) or 5 mg EE2/kg (contraceptive dose) body weight/day from gestation day 1e7 by oral gavage. Control mice received a 0.1% ethanol solution. High frequency ultrasound imaging was used to follow-up fetal and placental growth in vivo. Doppler measurements were utilized to analyze blood flow parameters in uterine and umbilical arteries. Mice were sacrificed at gd5,10, and 14.We show that most fetuses of mothers exposed to the high EE2 dose die intrauterine at gd10, with implantation sizes beginning to be smaller already at gd8. Mothers exposed to the low EE2 dose show an impaired remodeling of the spiral arteries, a higher placental weight and pups that are large for gestational age. The insulin-like growth factor system that regulates fetal and placental growth and development is affected by the EE2 treatment. Our results show that a short-term exposure to EE2 during early pregnancy has severe consequences for fetal growth and survival depending on the dose. Exposition to synthetic estrogens affects placenta growth and angiogenesis. These findings urge to the study of mechanisms dysregulated upon environ- mental exposition to estrogens.

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