Suppressive effect of neonatal treatment with a phytoestrogen, coumestrol, on lordosis and estrous cycle in female rats

Tom Kouki, Miho Okamoto, Shizuko Wada, Miki Kishitake, Korehito Yamanouchi

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44 Citations (Scopus)


The neural control systems for the ovulatory cycle and lordosis behavior are sexually differentiated by estrogen during the perinatal period in rats. In the present study, the effects of a single neonatal injection with the phytoestrogen, coumestrol, on female reproductive functions were investigated. Female rats were injected subcutaneously with 1 or 3 mg coumestrol (CM1, CM3), 1 mg genistein (GS1), 1 mg estradiol (E 2), or oil at day 5 after birth (birth day = day 1) and an estrous cycle check and lordosis behavior test were performed. As a result, vaginal opening was advanced in CM1-, CM3- or E 2-treated females. A vaginal smear check indicated that oil- or GS1-treated females showed a constant 4- or 5-day estrous cycle, whereas CM1-, CM3- or E 2-treated rats showed a persistent or prolonged estrus. Ovariectomy was performed in all females at 60 days of age. The ovary weights in the CM1-, CM3- or E 2-treated groups were lower than those in the oil- and GS1-treated groups and no corpora lutea were found in any rats of these three groups, except for two E 2-treated rats. Behavioral tests were carried out after implantation of E 2-tubes. All rats in the CM1-, GS1-treated groups showed a high lordosis quotient (LQ), being comparable to that in the oil-treated females. On the other hand, LQs in the CM3, E 2 or male groups were lower than that in the control female group. These results suggest that a single neonatal injection of 3 mg coumestrol was effective in suppressing the functions of ovulation-inducing mechanisms and the induction of lordosis, but 1 mg coumestrol was effective in only the estrous cycle of female rats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)449-454
Number of pages6
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Jan 15


  • Brain
  • Coumestrol
  • Estrous cycle
  • Lordosis
  • Phytoestrogen
  • Rat
  • Sex differentiation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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