In utero exposure to a synthetic estrogen, diethylstilbestrol (DES), induces vaginal clear-cell adenocarcinoma in humans.
In mice, perinatal exposure to DES results in abnormalities such as polyovular follicles, uterine circular muscle disorganization and persistent vaginal epithelial cell proliferation.
We reported the persistent gene expression change such as interleukin-1 (IL-1) related genes, insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) and its downstream signaling in the mouse vagina exposed neonatally to DES. In this study, we found persistent up-regulation of Wnt4 and persistent down-regulation of Wnt11 in the vagina of mice exposed neonatally to DES and estrogen receptor α specific ligand.
Also Wnt4 expression in vagina is correlated to the stratification of epithelial cells with the superficial keratinization of vagina, but not epithelial cell stratification only.