Hormonal imprinting by steroids: A single neonatal treatment with diethylstilbestrol or allylestrenol gives rise to a lasting decrease in the number of rat uterine receptors

G. Csaba, A. Inczefi-Gonda, O. Dobozy

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The first interaction of a hormone with its receptor at a stage when the latter is already responsive, in mammals during the perinatal period, gives rise to a hormonal imprinting, which represents the final event of normal receptor maturation. The presence of excessive hormone at the first interaction results in amplification of the receptor, which manifests with an increased responsiveness to it in adulthood. If the first interaction takes place with a foreign (related or analogous) molecule functionally different from, but structurally similar to, the adequate hormone, a lasting change of the receptor function and response may result. Experimental evidence of these phenomena has been obtained from receptor - ligand interactions of polypeptide hormones such as thyrotropin, gonadotropin, insulin, and vasopressin. In the present experiments the authors studied the imprinting potential of steroid hormones on the rat uterus, using diethylstilbestrol (DES) and allylestrenol (AE). They selected DES for study on account of its severe long-term effects after application during gestation, whose cause might be elucidated by receptor analysis, and AE on account of its wide application for treatment during pregnancy, and the long-term effects of which are still unknown.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-212
Number of pages6
JournalActa physiologica Hungarica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 1986


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology (medical)

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