Influence of chronic administration of zearalenone on the processes of apoptosis in the porcine ovary

https://doi.org/10.17221/5661-VETMEDCitation:Wasowicz K., Gajecka M., Calka J., Jakimiuk E., Gajecki M. (2005): Influence of chronic administration of zearalenone on the processes of apoptosis in the porcine ovary. Veterinarni Medicina, 50: 531-536.
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Zearalenone (ZEA), a micotoxin produced by Fusarium sp. is regarded as a phytoestrogen. Although cytotoxic and genotoxic activity of ZEA was detected, the majority of its toxic influence is related to the ability of binding to estrogen receptors and disrupting the endocrine regulation of the reproductory functions in females. It was previously found that ZEA inhibits proliferation of cells in porcine ovaries, as detected with immunostaining for proliferating cells nuclear antigen (PCNA). The number of PCNA-positive cells was inversely proportional to the dose of ZEA. We decided to answer the question of whether ZEA induces apoptosis in porcine ovaries. Experimental gilts (before first estrus) were fed ZEA in a dosage of 20 (group II) or 40 (group III) µg/kg of body weight/day for 63 days. Control animals (group I) were fed a placebo. After that period animals were sacrificed, ovaries were extirpated, fixed in paraformaldehyde solution, cut into sections with a cryostat and studied for apoptosis with TUNEL kit, and for the presence of apoptosis-promoting protein Bax with immunohistochemistry. It was found that apoptosis was detected with TUNEL only in medium-sized antral ovarian follicles in animals of groups I and II. No apoptosis signal was found in the ovaries of animals in group III. No differences in the distribution and intensity of staining for Bax were found between animals of all investigated groups. The results indicate that ZEA do not induce apoptosis in porcine ovaries, and the inhibition of proliferation must be associated with other mechanisms.
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