Tannic acid-induced alterations in mouse growth and pituitary melanocyte-stimulating hormone activity


Male albino mice were fed a diet containing 5 or 8% ( w w) tannic acid in ground laboratory chow. Initial weights of mice ranged from 7 to 18 g and the duration of feeding from 3 to 8 wk. Body weights were taken at weekly intervals for all animals. At autopsy weights were taken of the testes, adrenals and pituitary glands and the latter were reserved for subsequent frog skin bioassay of melanocyte-stimulating hormone (MSH). The two test groups with initial body weights of 17.5-18.3 g demonstrated depressed growth initially, but had reached the body weight of untreated mice at time of autopsy. These groups showed no meaningful difference in testes, adrenal or pituitary weights or in pituitary MSH activity. Animals with the lowest initial weights (7-11.3 g) had continued depressed growth until the time of autopsy and exhibited a significant increase in pituitary MSH activity. It appears that young mice may be more susceptible to the effects of feeding tannic acid. The increase in pituitary MSH activity may be considered as evidence of the toxic effect of prolonged feeding of tannic acid, possibly occurring at the level of the hypothalamus.

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Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology