Prenatal and neonatal exposure to the antiandrogen flutamide alters connexin 43 gene expression in adult porcine ovary.Domest Anim Endocrinol. 2011 Jan; 40(1):19-29.DA
Connexin 43 (Cx43) is the predominant gap junction protein within porcine ovary and is required for proper follicle and corpus luteum (CL) development. Recent research suggests maternally or neonatally mediated effects of antiandrogens on reproductive function during adulthood, notably those dependent on gap junctional communication. The current study was conducted to determine whether late gestational or neonatal exposure to the antiandrogen flutamide influences Cx43 gene expression in the adult porcine ovary. Flutamide was injected into pregnant gilts between days 80 and 88 of gestation and into female piglets between days 2 and 10 posnatally. After animals reached sexual maturity, the ovaries were collected from treated and nontreated (control) pigs. Expression of Cx43 mRNA and protein was determined for preantral and antral follicles and for CLs. In addition, 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3β-HSD) expression and progesterone concentration were determined for luteal tissues. In preantral follicles, Cx43 mRNA was down-regulated (P < 0.01) following maternal and neonatal flutamide exposure. In large antral follicles, Cx43 mRNA was up-regulated (P < 0.01) after neonatal flutamide administration. Immunofluorescence showed that Cx43 expression decreased (P < 0.001) in preantral follicles and increased (P < 0.001) in large antral follicles following flutamide exposure. In luteal tissues, Cx43 and 3β-HSD expression and progesterone concentration decreased (P < 0.01) after postnatal flutamide treatment. Overall, these results suggest the involvement of androgens in the regulation of Cx43 expression in pig ovary. Moreover, alteration of Cx43 expression by the administration of flutamide during particular prenatal and neonatal time periods may affect porcine follicle development, as well as CL formation and function.