Oestradiol transmission from males to females in the context of the Bruce and Vandenbergh effects in mice (Mus musculus) Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Male mice actively direct their urine at nearby females, and this urine reliably contains unconjugated oestradiol (E2) and other steroids. Giving inseminated females minute doses of exogenous E2, either systemically or intranasally, can cause failure of blastocyst implantation. Giving juvenile females minute doses of exogenous E2 promotes measures of reproductive maturity such as uterine mass. Here we show that tritium-labelled E2 (3H-E2) can be traced from injection into novel male mice to tissues of cohabiting inseminated and juvenile females. We show the presence of 3H-E2 in male excretions, transmission to the circulation of females and arrival in the female reproductive tract. In males, 3H-E2 given systemically was readily found in reproductive tissues and was especially abundant in bladder urine. In females, 3H-E2 was found to enter the system via both nasal and percutaneous routes, and was measurable in the uterus and other tissues. As supraoptimal E2 levels can both interfere with blastocyst implantation in inseminated females and promote uterine growth in juvenile females, we suggest that absorption of male-excreted E2 can account for major aspects of the Bruce and Vandenbergh effects.

publication date

  • April 2012