Prenatal DES Exposure and impacted Cardiac Structure/Function in Adult Females

Cardiac structure/function, protein expression, and DNA methylation are changed in adult female mice exposed to diethylstilbestrol in utero, 2013

Study Abstract

The detrimental effects of in utero exposure to the non-steroidal estrogen diethylstilbestrol (DES) are particularly marked in women.

Fetal hearts express estrogen receptors, making them potentially responsive to DES. To examine whether gestational exposure to DES would impact the heart, we exposed pregnant C57bl/6n dams to DES (0.1, 1.0, and 10.0 μg·(kg body mass)(-1)·day(-1)) on gestation days 11.5-14.5, and examined the measured cardiac structure/function and calcium homeostasis protein expression in adult females.

At baseline, echocardiography revealed eccentric hypertrophy in mice treated with 10.0 μg·(kg body mass)(-1)·day(-1) DES, and immunoblots showed increased SERCA2a in all DES-treated mice. Mice were swim-trained to assess cardiac remodeling. Swim-trained vehicle-treated mice developed eccentric hypertrophy without changing SERCA2 or calsequestrin 2 expression. In contrast, no DES-treated mice hypertrophied, and all increased in SERCA2a and calsequestrin 2 expression after training.

To determine whether DES-induced changes in DNA methylation is part of the mechanism for its long-term effects, we measured DNA methyltransferase expression and DNA methylation. Global DNA methylation and DNA methyltransferase 3a expression were unchanged. However, DES-treated mice had increased DNA methylation in the calsequestrin 2 promoter.

Thus, gestational exposure to DES altered female ventricular DNA, cardiac structure/function, and calcium homeostasis protein expression. We conclude that gestational exposure to estrogenizing compounds may impact cardiac structure/function in adult females.

Reference

  • Cardiac structure/function, protein expression, and DNA methylation are changed in adult female mice exposed to diethylstilbestrol in utero, Canadian journal of physiology and pharmacology, NCBI PubMed PMID: 23984849, 2013 Sep.
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