Long-term, low-dose lead exposure alters the gonadotropin-releasing hormone system in the male rat

Rebecca Z. Sokol, Saixi Wang, Yu-Jui Yvonne Wan, Frank Z. Stanczyk, Elisabet Gentzschein, Robert E. Chapin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

39 Scopus citations

Abstract

Lead is a male reproductive toxicant. Data suggest that rats dosed with relatively high levels of lead acetate for short periods of time induced changes in the hypothalamic gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) at the molecular level, but these changes were attenuated with increased concentration of exposure. The current study evaluated whether exposure to low levels of lead acetate over longer periods of time would produce a similar pattern of adaptation to toxicity at the molecular and biologic levels. Adult 100-day-old Sprague-Dawley male rats were dosed with 0, 0.025, 0.05, 0.1, and 0.3% lead acetate in water. Animals were killed after 1, 4, 8, and 16 weeks of treatment. Luteinzing hormone (LH) and GnRH levels were measured in serum, and lead levels were quantified in whole blood. Hypothalamic GnRH mRNA levels were also quantified. We found no significant differences in serum LH and GnRH among the groups of animals treated within each time period. A significant dose-related increase of GnRH mRNA concentrations with lead dosing occurred in animals treated for 1 week. Animals treated for more than 1 week also exhibited a significant increase in GnRH mRNA, but with an attenuation of the increase at the higher concentrations of lead with increased duration of exposure. We conclude that the signals within and between the hypothalamus and pituitary gland appear to be disrupted by long-term, low-dose lead exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)871-874
Number of pages4
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Volume110
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2002
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Gonadotrophin-releasing hormone
  • Hypothalamic-pituitary axis
  • Lead acetate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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    Sokol, R. Z., Wang, S., Wan, Y-J. Y., Stanczyk, F. Z., Gentzschein, E., & Chapin, R. E. (2002). Long-term, low-dose lead exposure alters the gonadotropin-releasing hormone system in the male rat. Environmental Health Perspectives, 110(9), 871-874.