Controlled neonatal exposure to estrogens: a suitable tool for reproductive aging studies in the female rat

Biol Reprod. 1993 Aug;49(2):387-92. doi: 10.1095/biolreprod49.2.387.


The present study was designed to determine whether the modification of exposure time to large doses of estrogens provided a reliable model for early changes in reproductive aging. Silastic implants containing estradiol benzoate (EB) in solution were placed into 5-day-old female Wistar rats and removed 1 day (Ei1 group) or 5 days (Ei5) later. In addition, 100 micrograms [corrected] EB dissolved in 100 microliters corn oil was administered s.c. to another group (EI). Control rats received either vehicle implants or 100 microliters corn oil. Premature occurrence of vaginal opening was observed in all three estrogenized groups independently of EB exposure. However, females bearing implants for 24 h had first estrus at the same age as their controls and cycled regularly, and neither histological nor gonadal alterations could be observed at 75 days. Interestingly, they failed to cycle regularly at 5 mo whereas controls continued to cycle. On the other hand, the increase of EB exposure (Ei5, EI) resulted in a gradual and significant delay in the onset of first estrus and in a high number of estrous phases, as frequently observed during reproductive decline. At 75 days, the ovaries of these last two groups showed a reduced number of corpora lutea and an increased number of large follicles. According to this histological pattern, ovarian weight and progesterone (P) content gradually decreased whereas both groups showed higher estradiol (E2) content than controls. This resulted in a higher E2:P ratio, comparable to that observed in normal aging rats.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / physiology*
  • Corpus Luteum / anatomy & histology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Implants
  • Estradiol / administration & dosage
  • Estradiol / metabolism
  • Estradiol / pharmacology*
  • Estrus / drug effects
  • Female
  • Organ Size
  • Ovarian Follicle / anatomy & histology
  • Ovary / anatomy & histology
  • Ovary / drug effects
  • Progesterone / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reproduction / physiology*
  • Sexual Maturation / drug effects
  • Vagina / drug effects
  • Vagina / growth & development


  • Drug Implants
  • Progesterone
  • Estradiol