Developmental toxicity but no immunotoxicity in the rat after prenatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol

A.H. Piersma*, A. Verhoef, C.G.J. Sweep, W.H. de Jong, H. van Loveren

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Developmental toxicity but no immunotoxicity in the rat after prenatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol.

Piersma AH, Verhoef A, Sweep CG, de Jong WH, van Loveren H.

Laboratories for Health Effects Research and for Pathology and Immunobiology, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), P.O. Box: 1, 3720 Bilthoven, The Netherlands.

Studies with dioxins and PCB's have shown that the developing immune system may be especially vulnerable to xenobiotics during the perinatal period. However, current guidelines for reproductive toxicity testing do not include immune parameters. In the present study, we have explored the usefulness of including immune parameters within the prenatal developmental toxicity study in rats, using the treatment protocol as described in the OECD 414 developmental toxicity test guideline. In addition, the experimental protocol was enhanced by including ten dose groups to facilitate dose-response analysis. Diethylstilbestrol (DES) was used as the model compound, as it is known to be toxic both for embryofetal development and for the immune system. The results show developmental toxicity in terms of decreased fetal survival and decreased pup body weight in the presence of reduced maternal food consumption and reduced body weight gain. However, immune parameters, including histopathology, hematology, and antibody responses to sheep red blood cells (SRBC) in pups at 4 weeks of age were uncompromised. It is speculated that rather than the prenatal exposure protocol used here, the generation study design with both pre- and postnatal exposure may be preferable as a general screen to detect developmental immunotoxic injury after xenobiotic exposure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-181
Number of pages8
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2002

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