Mouse hypospadias: A critical examination and definition

The current study describes the types of adult penile malformations induced developmentally by DES (hypospadias) in cohorts of mice treated with DES over the age range of E12 to P20, but examined in adulthood when enduring malformations are present

2016 Study Abstract

Hypospadias is a common malformation whose etiology is based upon perturbation of normal penile development. The mouse has been previously used as a model of hypospadias, despite an unacceptably wide range of definitions for this malformation.

The current paper presents objective criteria and a definition of mouse hypospadias. Accordingly, diethylstilbestrol (DES) induced penile malformations were examined at 60 days postnatal (P60) in mice treated with DES over the age range of 12 days embryonic to 20 days postnatal (E12 to P20). DES-induced hypospadias involves malformation of the urethral meatus, which is most severe in DES E12-P10, DES P0-P10 and DES P5-P15 groups and less so or absent in the other treatment groups. A frenulum-like ventral tether between the penis and the prepuce was seen in the most severely affected DES-treated mice. Internal penile morphology was also altered in the DES E12-P10, DES P0-P10 and DES P5-P15 groups (with little effect in the other DES treatment groups). Thus, adverse effects of DES are a function of the period of DES treatment and most severe in the P0 to P10 period. In “estrogen mutant mice” (NERKI, βERKO, αERKO and AROM+) hypospadias was only seen in AROM+ male mice having genetically-engineered elevation is serum estrogen. Significantly, mouse hypospadias was only seen distally at and near the urethral meatus where epithelial fusion events are known to take place and never in the penile midshaft, where urethral formation occurs via an entirely different morphogenetic process.


  • Full text (free access) : Mouse hypospadias: A critical examination and definition, NCBI PubMed PMC5052099, 2016 Apr 5.
  • Featured image credit Aaron Logan.

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