Summary. Female mice of the NMRI strain were treated with the synthetic oestrogen diethylstilboestrol (DES) for the first 5 days after birth. Pools of ovaries were removed from groups of 6-, 12-, 21-, 28- and 56-day-old females. An homogenate of an ovarian pool was incubated for 1 h in the presence of [3H]pregnenolone. Synthesized steroids were extracted and separated in a two-dimensional thin-layer chromatography system. Homogeneity of tentative steroids was verified with recrystallization to constant specific activity. Synthesis of [3H]progesterone and [3H]testosterone was demonstrated at 6 days, [3H]androstenedione at 12 days, [3H]17α-hydroxyprogesterone at 21 days, and [3H]oestradiol-17β at 28 days. Up to 28 days (21 days for progesterone), the synthetic activity was lower in homogenates of DES-exposed ovaries than in control homogenates. After 28 days, values for recovered [3H]progesterone, [3H]androstenedione and [3H]oestradiol-17β were higher in DES homogenates than in control homogenates while the reverse was true for [3H]17α-hydroxyprogesterone and [3H]testosterone. The results are compatible with an early and direct DES inhibitory effect on ovarian steroidogenesis and, later in immature life, a DES-induced disruption of the normal FSH–LH stimulation of ovarian development.
Keywords: steroids; synthesis; ovary; mouse; diethylstilboestrol