Prenatal testosterone exposure as a model for the study of endocrine-disrupting chemicals on the gerbil prostate
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The development of the prostate depends on a precise androgenic control, so sensible interferences may predispose this gland to develop prostatic diseases during life. These aspects are of interest and preoccupation, since human beings are exposed to a growing number of endocrine-disrupting chemicals with androgenic potential. Therefore, our aim was to evaluate the prostates of adult gerbils exposed to testosterone during intrauterine life. Serological, morphological, morphometric-stereologic, immunohistochemical and three-dimensional reconstruction analyses were used. We found that the testosterone effects were dose-dependent and more harmful to females, leading to the development of masculine characteristics, evidenced by an increased anogenital distance, and absence of vaginal opening and the ectopic development of prostatic tissue. Moreover, premalignant lesions, such as prostatic intraepithelial neoplasia, were observed in addition to inflammatory foci in the prostate. The results showed that the prenatal exposure to testosterone may affect the reproductive system, disrupting developmental processes and increasing susceptibility to the development of prostatic diseases in the Mongolian gerbil.