Wnt genes and endocrine disruption of the female reproductive tract: A genetic approach

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Reproductive tract development and function is regulated by circulating steroid hormones. In the mammalian female reproductive tract, estrogenic compounds direct many aspects of cytodifferentiation including uterine gland formation, smooth muscle morphology, and epithelial differentiation. While it is clear that these hormones act through their cognate nuclear receptors, it is less clear what signaling events follow hormonal stimulation that govern cytodifferentiation. Recent advances in molecular embryology and cancer cell biology have identified the Wnt family of secreted signaling molecules. Discussed here are recent advances that point to a definitive role during uterine development and adult function for one member of the Wnt gene family, Wnt-7a. In addition, recent data is reviewed that implicates Wnt-7a deregulation in response to pre-natal exposure to the synthetic estrogenic compound, DES. These advances point to an important role for the Wnt gene family in various reproductive tract pathologies including cancer. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science Ireland Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 20 Dec 1999


  • DES
  • Endocrine disrupter
  • Female reproductive tract
  • Patterning
  • Wnt signaling


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