DES exposure causes reprogramming of estrogen-responsive genes expressed in uterine leiomyomas

Identification of uterine leiomyoma genes developmentally reprogrammed by neonatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol

2008 Study Abstract

Environmental exposures during development can alter susceptibility later in life to adult diseases including uterine leiomyoma, a phenomenon termed developmental reprogramming.

The goal of this study was to identify genes developmentally reprogrammed by diethylstilbestrol (DES) and aberrantly expressed in leiomyomas.

Transcriptional profiling identified 171 genes differentially expressed in leiomyomas relative to normal myometrium, of which 6/18 genes with putative estrogen responsive elements and confirmed to be estrogen-responsive in neonatal uteri were reprogrammed by neonatal DES exposure.

Calbindin D9k and Dio2, normally induced by estrogen, exhibited elevated expression in DES-exposed animals during both phases of the estrus cycle. Gdf10, Car8, Gria2, and Mmp3, genes normally repressed by estrogen, exhibited elevated expression in DES-exposed animals during the proliferative phase, when estrogen is highest.

These data demonstrate that neonatal DES exposure causes reprogramming of estrogen-responsive genes expressed in uterine leiomyomas, leading to over-expression of these genes in the myometrium of exposed animals prior to the onset of tumorigenesis.

Sources and more information
  • Identification of uterine leiomyoma genes developmentally reprogrammed by neonatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol, Reproductive sciences (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), NCBI PubMed PMID: 19017814, 2008 Oct.
  • The Mechanism and Function of Epigenetics in Uterine Leiomyoma Development featured image credit researchgate.
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