Archives of Toxicology

, Volume 66, Issue 6, pp 387–391 | Cite as

Effects of p,p′-DDE and some other chlorinated hydrocarbons on the formation of prostaglandins by the avian eggshell gland mucosa

  • C. E. Lundholm
  • M. Bartonek
Original Investigations


Some structurally related chlorinated hydrocarbons were investigated for their effects on the production of prostaglandins by the eggshell gland mucosa of ducks and domestic fowl. Formation of PGF, PGE2 and TxB2 by homogenates of domestic fowl eggshell gland mucosa was significantly inhibited by in vitro addition of p,p′-DDE, Arochlor 1242 and, to a lesser extent, Arochlor 1260, but not by p,p′-DDT and o,p′-DDE. Comparatively, in duck eggshell gland mucosa homogenates, synthesis of the same prostaglandins was somewhat more sensitive to inhibition by 5 ΜM p,p′-DDE added in vitro. Eggshell gland mucosa synthesized significantly more PGF, PGE2 and TxB2 than did the mucosa of the magnum and isthmus regions of the oviduct. Duck eggshell gland mucosa homogenates synthesized significantly more prostaglandins than similar homogenates from the domestic fowl, and, considering the former synthesis of PGF was significantly higher when ducks were slaughtered at 08:00 than at 16:00 hours. In ducks, dietary administration of 40 ppm, p,p′-DDE for 45 days resulted in 21% eggshell thinning compared to the contemporary control values. This treatment also resulted in notable effects in homogenates of the eggshell gland mucosa, as compared to controls: Ca2+ uptake was reduced by 43%, synthesis of PGF, PGE2 and TxB2 was reduced by 26%, 38% and 53%, respectively; the Ca content was increased to 145%. The role of p,p′-DDE in inhibiting prostaglandin formation in the eggshell gland is discussed as a mechanism of the eggshell thinning action of this chlorinated hydrocarbon.

Key words

P,p′-DDE Prostaglandins Ca2+ uptake Duck Domestic fowl 








Arochlor 1242

chlorinated biphenyls, 42% chlorine

Arochlor 1260

chlorinated biphenyls, 60% chlorine

p,p′-DDT, p,p′-DDE and o,p′-DDE

obtained from EGA chemie and had a purity of 99%

Arochlor 1242 and Arochlor 1260

obtained from Alltech. Associates, Illinois, USA, and had a purity of 99%


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Asboth G, Toth M, Hertelendy F (1983) Conversion of arachidonic acid to prostanoids in the avian uterus. Biochim Biophys Acta 750: 481–489PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. Asboth G, Todd H, Toth M, Hertelendy F (1985) PGE2 binding, synthesis and distribution in hen oviduct. Am J Physiol 248: E80–88PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Cooke AS (1973) Shell thinning in avian eggs by environmental pollutants. Environ Pollut 4: 85–183CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Eastin WC Jr, Spaziani E (1978) On the mechanism of calcium secretion in the avian shell gland (uterus). Biol Reprod 19: 505–518PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Hammond RW, Olson DM, Frenkel RB, Bieller HV, Hertelendy F (1980) Prostaglandins and steroid hormones in plasma ovarian follicles during the ovulation cycle of the domestic hen. Gen Comp Endocrinol 42: 195–202CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Hertelendy F (1972) Prostaglandin induced premature oviposition in the coturnix quail. Prostaglandins 2: 269PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Hertelendy F (1974) Effects of prostaglandins, cAMP, seminal plasma, indomethacin and other factors on oviposition in the Japanese quail. J Reprod Fertil 40: 87–93PubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Hertelendy F, Bieller HV (1978) Prostaglandin levels in blood and reproductive organs. Biol Reprod 18: 204–211PubMedGoogle Scholar
  9. Kelly JD, Etches RJ, Guémené D (1990) Follicular control of oviposition in the hen. Poultry Sci 69: 288–291Google Scholar
  10. Lowry OH, Rosebrough NJ, Farr AL, Randall RJ (1951) Protein measurement with the Folin phenol reagent. J Biol Chem 193: 265–275PubMedGoogle Scholar
  11. Lundholm CE (1980) Comparison of p,p′-DDE and o,p′-DDE on eggshell thickness and Ca binding activity of shell gland in ducks. Acta pharmacol Toxicol 47: 377–384Google Scholar
  12. Lundholm CE (1984) Calcium content of duck eggshell gland mucosa homogenate and the rate of Ca2+ binding to its subcellular fractions during and after the formation of the eggshell. Comp Biochem Physiol 77B: 655–663Google Scholar
  13. Lundholm CE (1985) Studies of the effect of DDE on the calcium metabolism of the eggshell gland during formation of the eggshell in ducks and domestic fowls. Linköping University Medical Dissertations No. 205Google Scholar
  14. Lundholm CE (1987a) Methyl mercury decreases eggshell thickness and inhibits the Ca2+ uptake in a homogenate of the eggshell gland mucosa and its subcellular fraction from the domestic fowl. Acta Pharmacol Toxicol 60: 385–388Google Scholar
  15. Lundholm CE (1987b) Thinning of eggshells in birds by DDE; mode of action on the eggshell gland. Comp Biochem Physiol 88 C [1]: 1–22Google Scholar
  16. Lundholm CE (1988) The effect of DDE, PCB and chlordane on the binding of Progesterone to its cytoplasmic receptor in the eggshell gland mucosa of birds and the endometrium of the mammalian uterus. Comp Biochem Physiol 89 C: 361–368Google Scholar
  17. Lundholm CE (1990) The eggshell thinning action of acetazolamide; relation to the binding of calcium and carbonic anhydrase activity of the shell gland homogenate. Comp Biochem Physiol 95 C [1]: 85–89Google Scholar
  18. Lundholm CE (1991) A study of the effects of p,p′-DDE and other related chlorinated hydrocarbons on inhibition of platelet aggregation. Arch Toxicol 65: 570–574CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Nyholm NEI (1981) Evidence of involvement of aluminium in causation of defective formation of eggshells and of impaired breeding in wild passarine birds. Environ Res 26: 363–371PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Nys Y (1987) Progesterone and testosterone elicit increases in the duration of shell formation in domestic hens. Br Poultry Sci 28: 57–68Google Scholar
  21. Olson DM, Hertelendy F (1981) Plasma levels of 13,14-dihydro-15-keto prostaglandin F in relation to oviposition in the domestic hen. Biol Reprod 24: 496–504PubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Olson DM, Bieller HV, Hertelendy F (1978) Shell gland responsiveness to prostaglandins F and E and to arginine vasotocin during the laying cycle of the domestic hen. Gen Comp Endocrinol 36: 559–565PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Ratcliffe DA (1970) Changes attributable to pesticides in egg breakage frequence and eggshell thickness in some British birds. J Appl Ecol 7: 67–115Google Scholar
  24. Rothchild I, Fraps RM (1944) On the function of the ruptured ovarian follicle of the domestic fowl. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med 56: 79–82Google Scholar
  25. Scott MS, Zimmermann JR, Marinsky S, Mullendorff PA, Rumsey GL, Rice RW (1975) Effects of PCB, DDT and mercury compounds upon egg production, hatchability and shell quality in chickens and Japanese quail. Poultry Sci 54: 350–368Google Scholar
  26. Shimada K, Asai I (1979) Effects of prostaglandin F and indomethacin on uterine contraction in hens. Biol Reprod 21: 523–527PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Shorrock CJ, Gibbons LC, Rees WDW (1989) Effect of enprostil on amphibian gastroduodenal and human gastric bicarbonate secretion. Digest Dis Sci 34: 1016–1020CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Smeaton LA, Hirst BH, Allen A, Garner A (1983) Gastric and duodenal HCO3-transport in vivo; influence of prostaglandins. Am J Physiol 245: G751-G759PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Tanaka K, Nakada T (1974) Participation of the ovarian follicle in control of time of oviposition in the domestic fowl. Poultry Sci 53: 2120–2125Google Scholar
  30. Toth M, Olson DM, Hertelendy F (1979) Binding of prostaglandin F to membranes of shell gland muscle of laying hens: correlations with contractile activity. Biol Reprod 20: 390–398PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. Wechsung L, Korteweg M, Verdonk G, Houvenaghel A (1978) Plasma levels of prostaglandin F related to oviposition in the domestic hen. Arch Int Pharmacodyn 236: 331–333PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Wood-Gush DGM, Gilbert AD (1964) The control of the nesting behavior of the domestic hen. II The role of the ovary. Anim Behav 12: 451–453CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. E. Lundholm
    • 1
  • M. Bartonek
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PharmacologyFaculty of Health SciencesLinköpingSweden

Personalised recommendations