Transgenerational epigenetic effects of the endocrine disruptor vinclozolin on pregnancies and female adult onset disease

Reproduction. 2008 May;135(5):713-21. doi: 10.1530/REP-07-0542. Epub 2008 Feb 27.


Endocrine disruptor exposure during gonadal sex determination was previously found to induce male rat adult onset transgenerational disease (F1-F4 generation), and this was associated with an alteration in the epigenetic (i.e., DNA methylation) programming of the male germ line. The current study was designed to characterize the transgenerational disease phenotypes of the female adult offspring. Pregnant rats (F0 generation) were treated transiently with vinclozolin (i.e., fungicide with anti-androgenic activity) on embryonic (E) days E8-E14 of gestation. F1 control and vinclozolin generation offspring from different litters were mated to produce F2 offspring, and similarly F2 generation animals produced F3 generation offspring. Observations demonstrated that 9 out of 105 pregnant rats (8.6%) from the vinclozolin F1-F3 generations exhibited uterine hemorrhage and/or anemia late in pregnancy. None (0 out of 82) of the control F1-F3 generation females had similar pregnancy problems. Complete blood cell counts and serum chemistry profiles demonstrated that selected vinclozolin generation animals, but not controls, exhibited marked regenerative anemia in late pregnancy. Examination of kidney histology revealed moderate or severe glomerular abnormalities in 67% of the vinclozolin F2 and F3 generation adult females compared with 18% of the controls. Adult female vinclozolin generation animals also developed various types of tumors in 6.5% of the animals (11 out of 170), while 2% of control-line animals (3 out of 151) developed mammary tumors. Observations demonstrate that vinclozolin exposure during gonadal sex determination promotes a transgenerational increase in pregnancy abnormalities and female adult onset disease states.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Age of Onset
  • Animals
  • Brain Neoplasms / etiology
  • Breeding
  • Endocrine Disruptors / toxicity*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Fungicides, Industrial / toxicity*
  • Kidney Diseases / etiology
  • Kidney Neoplasms / etiology
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure*
  • Oxazoles / toxicity*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / etiology
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Toxicity Tests, Chronic


  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Fungicides, Industrial
  • Oxazoles
  • vinclozolin