The tissue archive used for the present study documents the disruption phenomenon that develops throughout the female reproductive tract of hamsters following neonatal exposure to either DES or E2. It includes both the prepubertal and mature stages in intact animals plus what happens in mature animals after they are ovariectomized prepubertally and then chronically stimulated with E2. Our objectives were to describe the histopathological consequences of each treatment in the cervical region and to compare them with our previous observations in the hamster uterus.
The ability of perinatal DES exposure to disrupt morphogenesis of the cervix has previously been reported in the hamster and in the more commonly used experimental species of mice and rats. However, few direct comparisons have been made of the ED activity of DES versus E2. Those that have been performed either suggested that E2 was less effective than DES as a perinatal ED agent or led to differing conclusions about whether the perinatal ED action of DES involves factors other than its relative estrogenicity.
Consideration of such topics inevitably leads to a discussion of the biology of AFP. This plasma glycoprotein is produced and circulates at very high levels during fetal/ neonatal life but then declines drastically as mammals mature.