Classical toxicity endpoints in female rats are insensitive to the human endocrine disruptors diethylstilbestrol and ketoconazole

Hanna Katarina Lilith Johansson, Sofie Christiansen, Monica Kam Draskau, Terje Svingen, Julie Boberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

86 Downloads (Pure)


Developmental exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals can have negative consequences for reproductive health in both men and women. Our knowledge about how chemicals can cause adverse health outcomes in females is, however, poorer than our knowledge in males. This is possibly due to lack of sensitive endpoints to evaluate endocrine disruption potential in toxicity studies. To address this shortcoming we carried out rat studies with two well-known human endocrine disruptors, diethylstilbestrol (DES) and ketoconazole (KTZ), and evaluated the sensitivity of a series of endocrine related endpoints. Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed orally from gestational day 7 until postnatal day 22. In a range-finding study, disruption of pregnancy-related endpoints was seen from 0.014 mg/kg bw/day for DES and 14 mg/kg bw/day for KTZ, so doses were adjusted to 0.003; 0.006; and 0.0012 mg/kg bw/day DES and 3; 6; or 12 mg/kg bw/day KTZ in the main study. We observed endocrine disrupting effects on sensitive endpoints in male offspring: both DES and KTZ shortened anogenital distance and increased nipple retention. In female offspring, 0.0012 mg/kg bw/day DES caused slightly longer anogenital distance. We did not see effects on puberty onset when comparing average day of vaginal opening; however, we saw a subtle delay after exposure to both chemicals using a time-curve analysis. No effects on estrous cycle were registered. Our study shows a need for more sensitive test methods to protect the reproductive health of girls and women from harmful chemicals.

Original languageEnglish
JournalReproductive Toxicology
Pages (from-to)9-17
Publication statusPublished - 2021


Dive into the research topics of 'Classical toxicity endpoints in female rats are insensitive to the human endocrine disruptors diethylstilbestrol and ketoconazole'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this