Summary. The effects of ethanol on uterine sensitivity to induction of decidualization and deciduoma growth were determined. Rats were ovariectomized, given an oestrogen-progesterone regimen to optimize induction and growth of deciduoma and randomly assigned to one of three ethanol treatment groups: (i) days 1–4 (pre-induction/period of sensitivity), (ii) days 5–9 (post-induction/period of growth), (iii) days 1–9 (periods of sensitivity and growth); or to a control group not treated with ethanol (pair-fed to treated groups). Ethanol (0, 1, 2, or 4 g kg−1) diluted in water was administered by stomach tube on the days prescribed. Decidualization was induced in one uterine horn by intraluminal injection of sodium phosphate buffer. Uterine sensitivity and decidual growth were assessed as cornu weight. Blood alcohol concentrations were measured by gas chromatography. Alcohol treatment reduced uterine sensitivity, but increased deciduoma growth. Blood alcohol concentrations rose to 133 mg% at 30 min, remained high for 90 min and declined to 82 mg% at 120 min. Thus, blood alcohol concentrations sufficient to induce mild intoxication in humans suppressed uterine sensitivity to decidualization and enhanced deciduoma growth in rats. As all ovarian steroid hormone support was exogenous, the effects of ethanol on deciduoma induction and growth were not due to alterations in the hypothalamic–pituitary–ovarian axis.
Keywords: decidualization; alcohol; implantation; rat