Effects of developmental exposure to indole-3-carbinol or 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin on reproductive potential of male rat offspring. Academic Article uri icon


  • Treatment of pregnant female Sprague-Dawley rats on Gestational Day 15 with a single oral dose of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) (0.5, 1.0, or 2.0 micrograms/kg) or indole-3-carbinol (I3C, 1.0 or 100 mg/kg), an aryl hydrocarbon (Ah) receptor agonist which is found in cruciferous vegetables, resulted in reproductive abnormalities in the male offspring (three to five litters in each treatment group). Anogenital distance and crown to rump length were altered by both compounds; however, the timing of the effects (Day 1 or 5) was variable and the responses were not necessarily dose-dependent. In 62-day-old offspring, seminal vesicle (24 to 26%), prostate (32 to 44%), testicular parenchymal (14%), and epididymal weight (19%) were decreased by one or more doses of TCDD. In contrast, I3C at one or more doses decreased daily sperm production/g testicular parenchyma (13 to 20%) and daily sperm production/testis (22%). Total number of sperum in the epididymis was significantly decreased (30 to 33%) in rats perinatally exposed to TCDD and this was due to a decreased (49 to 51%) number of sperm in the tail of the epididymis. Perinatal exposure to I3C did not affect any of these parameters. TCDD did not affect epididymal transit time of sperm through the complete epididymis at any of the doses (0.5 to 2.0 micrograms/kg). However, at the two highest doses (1.0 and 2.0 micrograms/kg), TCDD increased epididymal transit rate of sperm through the tail of the epididymis by 33 and 37%, respectively. In contrast, primarily due to decreased transit rate (39%) of sperm through the head plus body of the epididymis. I3C (1 mg/kg) significantly increased total epididymal transit time by 31%. In conclusion, perinatal exposure of pregnant rats to I3C, an Ah receptor agonist similar to TCDD, causes reproductive abnormalities in male rat offspring; however, I3C and TCDD elicited both common and different responses.

published proceedings

  • Toxicol Appl Pharmacol

altmetric score

  • 6

author list (cited authors)

  • Wilker, C., Johnson, L., & Safe, S.

citation count

  • 64

complete list of authors

  • Wilker, C||Johnson, L||Safe, S

publication date

  • November 1996