Abolition of sex-dependent effects of prenatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol on emotional behavior in estrogen receptor-α knockout mice

Kazuya Tomihara, Taku Kaitsuka, Tomoko Soga, Kenneth S. Korach, Donald W. Pfaff, Kazuo Takahama, Sonoko Ogawa

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To investigate the contribution of estrogen receptor-α in the effects of prenatal exposure to diethylstilbestrol on emotionality, estrogen receptor-α knockout heterozygous pregnant mice were orally given 0.1 μg/animal of diethylstilbestrol from gestational day 11 to 17. Emotional behavior of the offspring was assessed at 5 weeks in light-dark transition tests. Time spent in the light area was significantly decreased (i.e. decrease of emotionality) by diethylstilbestrol exposure in wild-type female mice, whereas in wild-type male mice this measurement tended to be increased (i.e. increase of emotionality) by diethylstilbestrol treatment. These sex-dependent effects of diethylstilbestrol were completely abolished in estrogen receptor-α knockout mice. These results suggest that the sex-dependent effects of diethylstilbestrol on emotionality are mainly produced by its action on estrogen receptor-α.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1169-1173
Number of pages5
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Emotion
  • Estrogenic endocrine disruptors
  • Knockout mouse
  • Light-dark transition test
  • Open-field test

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