Early conversion of maternal androgens affects the embryo already in the first week of development

Yuqi Wang*, Bernd Riedstra, Ronja Hulst, Roy Noordhuis, Ton Groothuis

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

OnderzoeksoutputAcademicpeer review

1 Citaat (Scopus)
12 Downloads (Pure)


Maternal androgen exposure has potent effects on offspring development. As substantial levels of maternal androgens are deposited in avian egg yolks, avian eggs are frequently used to study maternal effects, with a strong focus on post-natal development. However, the underlying pathways are largely unknown. Since the hormones are taken up during the embryonic phase, and these are rapidly metabolized by avian embryos into metabolites such as etiocholanolone, we studied the effects of yolk androgens (testosterone and androstenedione) and their metabolite etiocholanolone during the first few days of embryonic development. As embryonic heart rate is often used as an indicator of embryonic development, we measured the heart rate from day 3 to day 6 of incubation by using a shell-less culture technique in rock pigeon eggs (Columba livia). Increased androgen exposure increased heart rate, and increased etiocholanolone mimicked this effect, albeit in a small sample size. This indicates that exposure to maternal androgens increases embryonic overall metabolism which may account for the developmental outcomes found in previous studies such as increased growth. Moreover, etiocholanolone is likely to be an important metabolite in a non-genomic pathway underlying the androgen-mediated maternal effect.

Originele taal-2English
Aantal pagina's5
TijdschriftBiology Letters
Nummer van het tijdschrift3
StatusPublished - 1-mrt.-2023

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