Dioxin garbles prostate development in mice.

Nov 07, 2008

Vezina, CM, SH Allgeier, RW Moore , T-M Lin, JC Bemis, HA Hardin, TA Gasiewicz and RE Peterson. Dioxin causes ventral prostate agenesis by disrupting dorsoventral patterning in developing mouse prostate. Toxicological Sciences doi:10.1093/toxsci/kfn183.

Synopsis by Benson T. Akingbemi

Prostate glands of mice exposed in the womb to dioxin during a critical time of pregnancy do not develop properly. The research pinpoints how the chemical changes hormone signals that guide where normal tissue should grow. The result is a disruption in prostate development that could lead to adult prostate disease.

Scientists at the University of Wisconsin have found that  dioxin  interferes with development of the prostate gland in mice that were exposed while in the womb. The study suggests dioxin may be contributing to the increasing frequency of prostate diseases in people.

The study, which builds on prior animal research, now provides some explanation on how the most toxic form of dioxin, known as TCDD, affects development and growth of the prostate gland.

Normally, the prostate gland develops as outgrowths of tissue – called prostatic buds - from a fetal organ known as the urogenital sinus. The urogenital sinus give rise to parts of the urinary and reproductive tract.

However, the researchers discovered that TCDD can reprogram tissue interactions within the urogenital sinus in a manner that suppresses formation and growth of prostatic buds. Although use of dioxins has been banned for some time, these compounds have the ability to persist in the environment for prolonged periods.

People are exposed to small amounts of TCDD through contaminated food and air-borne particles in the environment. Previous research has shown that dioxins can cause cancer and other adverse effects in humans and experimental animals. Given the increasing trend in the incidence of human prostate disease, additional studies are required to identify how dioxins and other compounds that can influence the hormonal system affect the prostate gland in order to develop preventive measures to decrease death and illness associated with prostate disease.