Exposure to topiramate and acetazolamide causes endocrine disrupting effects in female rats during estrus

Christina Kamp-Jensen*, Louise Norgil Donslund, Bjarne Styrishave*, Rigmor Højland Jensen*, Connar Stanley James Westgate*

*Corresponding author for this work
1 Citation (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH) is a disease characterized by elevated intracranial pressure (ICP) and is a disease of young females. The first line pharmacological treatments include acetazolamide and topiramate and given the nature of IIH patients and the dosing regimen of these drugs, their effect on the endocrine system is important to evaluate. We aimed to assess the effects of acetazolamide and topiramate on steroid profiles in relevant endocrine tissues.

METHODS: Female Sprague Dawley rats received chronic clinically equivalent doses of acetazolamide or topiramate by oral gavage and were sacrificed in estrus. Tissue specific steroid profiles of lateral ventricle CP, 4th ventricle CP, CSF, serum, uterine horn and fundus, ovaries, adrenal glands and pituitary glands were assessed by quantitative targeted LC-MS/MS. We determined luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormones (FSH) levels in paired serum by ELISA.

RESULTS: Topiramate increased the concentration of estradiol and decreased the concentration of DHEA in lateral choroid plexus. Moreover, it decreased the concentration of androstenediol in the pituitary gland. Topiramate increased serum LH. Acetazolamide decreased progesterone levels in serum and uterine fundus and increased corticosteroid levels in the adrenal glands.

CONCLUSION: These results demonstrate that both acetazolamide and topiramate have endocrine disrupting effects in rats. Topiramate primarily targeted the choroid plexus and the pituitary gland while acetazolamide had broader systemic effects. Furthermore, topiramate predominantly targeted sex hormones, whereas acetazolamide widely affected all classes of hormones. A similar effect in humans has not yet been documented but these concerning findings warrants further investigations.

Original languageEnglish
Article number116919
JournalToxicology and Applied Pharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Acetazolamide
  • Endocrine Disruption
  • Fertility
  • Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension
  • Intracranial Pressure
  • Steroid Hormones
  • Topiramate


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