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Perinatal Zearalenone Exposure Affects RXFP1, RXFP2, and Morphoregulatory Gene Expression in the Neonatal Porcine Uterus


Address for correspondence: Carol A. Bagnell, Department of Animal Sciences, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901. Voice: 732-932-8165 × 102; fax: 732-932-6996.


The mycotoxin zearalenone (ZEA) is a selective estrogen receptor modulator that can contaminate cereal feeds and lead to reproductive disorders. To determine effects of perinatal ZEA exposure on uterine expression of genes associated with endometrial development in the neonatal gilt, pregnant sows were fed ZEA (1500 μg ZEA/kg of feed/day) or vehicle from 14 days before farrowing through postnatal day (PND) 20–21, when neonatal uterine tissues were collected. At birth, gilts were cross-fostered to generate four ZEA exposure groups (n= 5–6/group): unexposed controls or exposures limited to prenatal, postnatal, or pre- and postnatal (continuous) periods. Results showed that at PND 20–21, uterine Wnt7a, Hoxa10, estrogen receptor α, and RXFP2 mRNA levels were decreased in neonates exposed continuously to ZEA (P < 0.05). Uterine RXFP1 transcripts were decreased in postnatally and continuously exposed groups (P < 0.05). Neonatal uterine Wnt4 mRNA levels were unchanged.