Effects of in Utero Exposure to Arsenic during the Second Half of Gestation on Reproductive End Points and Metabolic Parameters in Female CD-1 Mice.
Authors: Rodriguez KF, Ungewitter EK, Crespo-Mejias Y, Liu C, Nicol B, Kissling GE, Yao HH.
Mice exposed to high levels of arsenic in utero are more susceptible to tumors such as hepatic and pulmonary carcinoma when they reach adulthood. However, effects of in utero arsenic exposure on general physiological functions such as reproduction and metabolism remain unclear.
We evaluated the effect of in utero exposure to inorganic arsenic at the EPA drinking water standard (10 ppb) and tumor-inducing level (42.5 ppm) on reproductive end points and metabolic parameters when the exposed females reach adulthood.
Pregnant CD-1 mice were exposed to sodium arsenite (0, 10 ppb, or 42.5 ppm) in drinking water from gestational day 10 to birth, the window of organ formation. At birth, exposed offspring were fostered to unexposed dams. We examined reproductive end points (age at vaginal opening, reproductive hormone levels, estrous cyclicity, and fertility) and metabolic parameters (body weight changes, hormone levels, body fat content, and glucose tolerance) of the exposed females in adulthood.
Arsenic-exposed females (10 ppb and 42.5 ppm) exhibited early onset of vaginal opening. Fertility was not affected when females were exposed to the 10 ppb dose. However, the number of litters per female was decreased in females exposed to 42.5 ppm of arsenic in utero. In both 10 ppb and 42.5 ppm groups, exposed females had significantly higher body weight gain, body fat content, and glucose intolerance.
Our findings reveal unexpected effects that in utero exposure to arsenic at a human relevant low dose and a tumor-inducing level leads to early onset of vaginal opening and obesity in female CD-1 mice.
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