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Open AccessArticle

The Effects of High Peripubertal Caffeine Exposure on the Adrenal Gland in Immature Male and Female Rats

by 1 and 2,*
1
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, College of Medicine, Hanyang University, Seoul 133-791, Korea
2
Dept. of Anatomy and Cell Biology, College of Medicine, Hanyang University, Seoul 133-791, Korea
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2019, 11(5), 951; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11050951
Received: 3 April 2019 / Revised: 23 April 2019 / Accepted: 24 April 2019 / Published: 26 April 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coffee and Caffeine Consumption for Human Health)
The consumption of high levels of dietary caffeine has increased in children and adolescents. Human and animal studies have shown that chronic intake of high doses of caffeine affects serum glucocorticoid levels. Given that glucocorticoids play a role in peripubertal organ growth and development, chronic high doses of caffeine during puberty might impair maturation of the adrenal glands. To evaluate any effects of caffeine exposure on growing adrenal glands, 22-day-old male (n = 30) and female Sprague Dawley rats (n = 30) were divided into three groups (n = 10/group); group 1 received tap water (control) and groups 2 and 3 received water containing 120 and 180 mg/kg/day caffeine, respectively, via gavage for 4 weeks. At the end of the experiment, adrenal glands were weighed and processed for histological analysis. Relative adrenal weights increased in both groups of caffeine-fed males and females, whereas absolute weights were decreased in the females. In the female caffeine-fed groups the adrenal cortical areas resembled irregularly arranged cords and the medullary area was significantly increased, whereas no such effects were seen in the male rats. Our results indicate that the harmful effects of caffeine on the adrenal glands of immature rats differ between females and males. Although female rats seemed to be more susceptible to damage based on the changes in the microarchitecture of the adrenal glands, caffeine affected corticosterone production in both female and male rats. In addition, increased basal adrenocorticotropic hormone levels in caffeine-fed groups may reflect decreased cortical function. Therefore, caffeine may induce an endocrine imbalance that disturbs the establishment of the hypothalamo–pituitary adrenal axis during puberty, thereby leading to abnormal stress responses. View Full-Text
Keywords: adrenal gland; caffeine; corticosterone; puberty; rat; sex-difference adrenal gland; caffeine; corticosterone; puberty; rat; sex-difference
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MDPI and ACS Style

Ryu, K.-Y.; Roh, J. The Effects of High Peripubertal Caffeine Exposure on the Adrenal Gland in Immature Male and Female Rats. Nutrients 2019, 11, 951. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11050951

AMA Style

Ryu K-Y, Roh J. The Effects of High Peripubertal Caffeine Exposure on the Adrenal Gland in Immature Male and Female Rats. Nutrients. 2019; 11(5):951. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11050951

Chicago/Turabian Style

Ryu, Ki-Young; Roh, Jaesook. 2019. "The Effects of High Peripubertal Caffeine Exposure on the Adrenal Gland in Immature Male and Female Rats" Nutrients 11, no. 5: 951. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11050951

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