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Companion animals, including bitches, may be exposed to zearalenone (ZEN) toxins that are often present in feed, and ZEN intoxication may lead to ovarian dysfunction. This study involved evaluation of the degree of ZEN-induced hypo stimulation of ovary by determination of proliferative and apoptotic indices and description of the ultra-structural organization of ovarian follicles in pre-pubertal bitches subjected to experimental, long-term exposure to low-dose ZEN mycotoxicosis. The experiment involved 30 clinically healthy, immature Beagle bitches aged approximately 70 days with initial average body weight of 8 kg, randomly divided into three groups of 10 animals each: two experimental groups (EI and EII) and a control group (C). Over a period of 42 days, ZEN was administered per os to EI animals at a dose of 50 microg/kg BW, and to EII bitches at a dose of 75 microg/kg BW. Control group animals were fed placebo containing no ZEN for 42 days. Analytical samples of the mycotoxin were administered daily in gelatin capsules before morning feeding. All the bitches were subjected to ovario-hysterectomy at the end of the experiment. Proliferation index (PCNA method) and apoptotic index (TUNEL test) values were determined by immune-histological analyses. The median for apoptotic index was determined at 13.45 for group EI, 17.84 for group EII, and 8.59 for group C. The median for proliferation index was determined at 35.25 for group EII, 42.44 for group EI, and 70.60 for group C. The results of ultra-structural examinations of the ovaries revealed that experimental, ZEN-induced hyperestrogenism enhanced apoptosis and lowered the proliferative ability of follicular cells what contributed to organelle destruction in pre-pubertal bitches. The changes observed were particularly advanced in EII animals, which were administered a higher dose of ZEN.


M Gajecka. The effect of experimental low zearalenone intoxication on ovarian follicles in pre-pubertal bitches. Polish journal of veterinary sciences. 2013;16(1):45-54

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PMID: 23691575

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