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Effects of selective and combined activation of estrogen receptor α and β on reproductive organ development and sexual behaviour in Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica)
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Environmental toxicology. Ctr Reprod Biol Uppsala CRU, Uppsala, Sweden..
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Organismal Biology, Environmental toxicology. Ctr Reprod Biol Uppsala CRU, Uppsala, Sweden..ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4590-1211
2017 (English)In: PLoS ONE, ISSN 1932-6203, E-ISSN 1932-6203, Vol. 12, no 7, article id e0180548Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Excess estrogen exposure of avian embryos perturbs reproductive organ development in both sexes and demasculinizes the reproductive behaviors of adult males. We have previously shown that these characteristic effects on the reproductive organs also can be induced by exposure of Japanese quail (Coturnix japonica) embryos to selective agonists of estrogen receptor alpha (ER alpha). In contrast, the male copulatory behavior is only weakly affected by developmental exposure to an ERa agonist. To further elucidate the respective roles of ER alpha and ER beta in estrogen-induced disruption of sexual differentiation, we exposed Japanese quail embryos in ovo to the selective ER alpha agonist 16 alpha-lactone-estradiol (16 alpha LE2), the selective ER beta agonist WAY-200070, or both substances in combination. The ERa agonist feminized the testes in male embryos and reduced cloacal gland size in adult males. Furthermore, anomalous retention and malformations of the Mullerian ducts/oviducts were seen in embryos and juveniles of both sexes. The ER beta agonist did not induce any of these effects and did not influence the action of the ERa agonist. Male copulatory behavior was not affected by embryonic exposure to either the ER alpha-or the ER beta-selective agonist but was slightly suppressed by treatment with the two compounds combined. Our results suggest that the reproductive organs become sexually differentiated consequent to activation of ER alpha by endogenous estrogens; excessive activation of ER alpha, but not ER beta, during embryonic development may disrupt this process. Our results also suggest that the demasculinizing effect of estrogens on male copulatory behavior is only partly mediated by ER alpha and ER beta, and may rather involve other estrogen-responsive pathways.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE , 2017. Vol. 12, no 7, article id e0180548
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Biological Sciences
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-331244DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0180548ISI: 000405268500063PubMedID: 28671963OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-331244DiVA, id: diva2:1150495
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Swedish Research Council Formas, 2016-20128 99Available from: 2017-10-19 Created: 2017-10-19 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved

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