The synthetic estrogen diethylstilbestrol (DES) is an established, estrogenic endocrine disruptor (ED). The Syrian golden hamster (Mesocricetus auratus) offers some unique advantages as an experimental system to investigate the perinatal ED action of DES and other estrogenic EDs. Previous analyses regarding the consequences of neonatal administration (100 μg) of DES versus estradiol-17β (E2) showed that DES had a more potent disruptive effect on morphogenesis and gene expression in the uterus, oviduct, and ovary as well as in the testis and male accessory organs. The objectives of the present study were to describe the histopathological consequences of the two neonatal treatment regimens in the hamster cervix and to compare them with our previous observations in the hamster uterus. As previously found in the hamster uterus, DES was more potent than E2 as a neonatal disruptor of the hamster cervix in prepubertal animals and in ovarian-intact adult animals. However, the cervix-versus-uterus scenario diverged in animals that were ovariectomized prepubertally and then chronically stimulated with natural estrogen (E2). We confirmed previous observations that neonatal exposure to DES, but not to E2, permanently alters estrogen responsiveness in the adult hamster uterus, but neither neonatal treatment regimen affected estrogen responsiveness in the adult hamster cervix. These results suggest that an unidentified ovarian factor influences the extent of neonatal DES-induced disruption of the cervix, but not of the uterus, in hamsters.
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