Atrazine-induced reproductive tract alterations after transplacental and/or lactational exposure in male Long–Evans rats

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Abstract

Studies showed that early postnatal exposure to the herbicide atrazine (ATR) delayed preputial separation (PPS) and increased incidence of prostate inflammation in adult Wistar rats. A cross-fostering paradigm was used in this study to determine if gestational exposure to ATR would also result in altered puberty and reproductive tissue effects in the male rat. Timed-pregnant Long–Evans (LE) rats were dosed by gavage on gestational days (GD) 15–19 with 100 mg ATR/kg body weight (BW) or 1% methylcellulose (controls, C). On postnatal day (PND)1, half litters were cross-fostered, creating 4 treatment groups; C-C, ATR-C, C-ATR, and ATR-ATR (transplacental-milk as source, respectively). On PND4, male offspring in the ATR-ATR group weighed significantly less than the C-C males. ATR-ATR male pups had significantly delayed preputial separation (PPS). BWs at PPS for C-ATR and ATR-ATR males were reduced by 6% and 9%, respectively, from that of C-C. On PND120, lateral prostate weights of males in the ATR-ATR group were significantly increased over C-C. Histological examination of lateral and ventral prostates identified an increased distribution of inflammation in the lateral prostates of C-ATR males. By PND220, lateral prostate weights were significantly increased for ATR-C and ATR-ATR, but there were no significant changes in inflammation in either the lateral or ventral prostate. These results suggest that in LE rats, gestational ATR exposure delays PPS when male offspring suckle an ATR dam, but leads to increased lateral prostate weight via transplacental exposure alone. Inflammation present at PND120 does not increase in severity with time.

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