Role of the fetal pituitary in cryptorchidism induced by exogenous maternal oestrogen during pregnancy in mice

in Reproduction

Summary. A single subcutaneous injection of 5 or 1 mg oestradiol given to pregnant female mice on Day 14 of pregnancy resulted in all male offspring being cryptorchid. Pituitary LH content, testicular weights and structure, seminal vesicle weights and the structure of the reproductive tract as a whole were monitored on the day of birth and at 2, 4, 8 and 14 weeks of age. Apart from an initial significant reduction in pituitary LH at the time of birth, no other marked differences were seen between control and treated animals except that all oestrogen-treated males lacked a gubernaculum and the testes were freely mobile within the abdomen. Hypogonadal (hpg) male mice lacking GnRH are cryptorchid but have a normal gubernaculum and their testes develop and descend normally if treated with gonadotrophins. When the mothers of hpg mice were treated with oestradiol the male offspring lacked a gubernaculum. These results indicate that perturbations of the fetal hypothalamic/pituitary axis play no significant part in oestrogen-induced cryptorchidism in mice.

Keywords: cryptorchidism; gubernaculum; maternal; oestrogen; LH; mouse

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