Inhibition of estrogen-mediated uterine gene expression responses by dioxin

Mol Pharmacol. 2008 Jan;73(1):82-93. doi: 10.1124/mol.107.040451. Epub 2007 Oct 17.


2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) exhibits antiestrogenic properties, including the inhibition of estrogen-induced uterine growth and proliferation. The inhibition of estrogen-mediated gene expression through ER/AhR cross-talk has been proposed as a plausible mechanism; however, only a limited number of inhibited responses have been investigated that are unlikely to fully account for the antiuterotrophic effects of TCDD. Therefore, the effects of TCDD on ethynyl estradiol (EE)-mediated uterine gene expression were investigated using cDNA microarrays with complementary physiological and histological phenotypic anchoring. Mice were gavaged with vehicle, 3 daily doses of 10 mug/kg EE, a single dose of 30 mug/kg TCDD, or a combination of EE plus TCDD and sacrificed after 4, 12, 24, and 72 h. TCDD cotreatment inhibited EE-induced uterine wet weight by 37, 23, and 45% at 12, 24, and 72 h, respectively. TCDD cotreatment also reduced EE-mediated stromal edema, hypertrophy, and hyperplasia and induced marked luminal epithelial cell apoptosis. A 2 x 2 factorial microarray design was used to identify EE- and TCDD-specific differential gene expression responses as well as their interactive effects. Only 133 of the 2753 EE-mediated differentially expressed genes were significantly modulated by TCDD cotreatment, indicating a gene-specific inhibitory response. The EE-mediated induction of many genes, including trefoil factor 1 and keratin 14, were inhibited by greater than 90% by TCDD. Functional annotation of inhibited responses was associated with cell proliferation, water and ion transport, and maintenance of cellular structure and integrity. These inhibited responses correlate with the observed histological alterations and may contribute to the antiuterotrophic effects of TCDD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Estrogens / physiology*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / physiology*
  • Mice
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins / pharmacology*
  • Uterus / drug effects*
  • Uterus / metabolism


  • Estrogens
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins