The effect of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) on chorionic gonadotrophin activity in pregnant macaques

Jiangang Chen, Lisa S. Laughlin, Andrew G Hendrickx, Kala Natarajan, James W. Overstreet, Bill L. Lasley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


As many as 62% of all human conceptions are lost prior to 12 weeks of pregnancy and it is unknown how many of these losses result from environmental hazards. Previous studies have shown that single doses of 1, 2, and 4 μg/kg 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) administrated orally to cynomolgus macaques during the peri-implantation period leads to early fetal loss (EFL) within 10-20 days. TCDD induced EFL is associated with a reduction in the biological activity of monkey chorionic gonadotrophin (mCG) but no change in the immunoreactive mCG profile. These studies are consistent with either a direct effect of TCDD on differentiation of the trophoblast and an indirect effect on mCG synthesis, or a direct effect on mCG synthesis and secretion independent of trophoblast development. The present study was designed to test the hypothesis that the action of TCDD is directly on mCG synthesis rather than on the differentiation of the trophoblast. Female macaques (Macaca fascicularis) were treated with a single dose of TCDD (4 μg/kg b.wt.) on Gestational Day 20, a stage of pregnancy following initial trophoblast differentiation and invasion. Circulating mCG concentrations were monitored for the next 6 days. Compared to the controls, the peak level of serum bioactive mCG was lower in the treated group (P<0.05), with a decrease observed on the day following exposure. The bioactive/immunoreactive mCG ratio was also lower in the treated group compared to the controls (P<0.05). There was no difference in serum immunoreactive mCG levels between the groups. Histological evaluation of the embryo-placental unit showed increased apoptosis and vascular congestion after treatment but was otherwise grossly normal. Because exposure of the conceptus to TCDD following differentiation of the trophoblast decreased the bioactivity of circulating mCG, we conclude that the action of TCDD in the placenta is directly on mCG synthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)21-31
Number of pages11
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Apr 15 2003


  • 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD)
  • Bioactive/immunoreactive ratio (B/I ratio)
  • Bioassay
  • Chorionic gonadotrophin (CG)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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