Regulation of estrogen receptor mRNA by 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin as measured by competitive RT-PCR. Academic Article uri icon


  • Environmental contaminants, such as 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), cause alterations in gene expression. In this study, we measured the regulation of estrogen receptor (ER) mRNA in female CD-1 mice by competitive RT-PCR. Previous work suggests that ER protein levels are affected by TCDD, but how this is regulated is uncertain. These studies found no significant changes in ER mRNA levels, but the methods used (Northern blot analysis and RNase protection assays) lack sensitivity for measuring the low levels of RNA transcript, such as ER mRNA. The method described here offers an excellent alternative for quantifying the changes in mRNA levels. Internal competitors were created with gene-specific primers for ER and beta-actin by PCR reactions at low annealing temperatures. For each sample, the mRNA levels of ER and beta-actin were determined. Using competitive RT-PCR, the relative changes in ER mRNA from TCDD-treated and control animals were determined after normalization with the levels of beta-actin mRNA. The ER mRNA from female CD-1 mice treated with TCDD (single dose 5 micrograms/kg, i.p., 4 days) was found to be significantly suppressed as compared with the vehicle control in all tissues examined. TCDD decreased ER mRNA in the liver (30.1%) as expected. However, the greatest effect was in the reproductive tissues, with a 64.2% reduction in ER mRNA in the ovary. This is the first demonstration that TCDD causes tissue-specific downregulation of ER mRNA. These effects may contribute to the tissue-specific toxicity of TCDD.

published proceedings

  • J Biochem Mol Toxicol

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Tian, Y., Ke, S., Thomas, T., Meeker, R. J., & Gallo, M. A.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Tian, Y||Ke, S||Thomas, T||Meeker, RJ||Gallo, MA

publication date

  • January 1998