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J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol. 2013 Sep;137:5-17. doi: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2013.01.007. Epub 2013 Jan 17.

Fetal origin of endocrine dysfunction in the adult: the phthalate model.

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  • 1The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre and Department of Medicine, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.


Di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) is a plasticizer with endocrine disrupting properties that is found ubiquitously in the environment as well as in human amniotic fluid, umbilical cord blood, human milk, semen, and saliva. It is used in the industry to add flexibility to polyvinyl chloride-derived plastics and its wide spread use and presence has resulted in constant human exposure through fetal development and postnatal life. Epidemiological studies have suggested an association between phthalate exposures and human reproductive effects in infant and adult populations. The effects of fetal exposure to phthalates on the male reproductive system were unequivocally shown on animal models, principally rodents, in which short term deleterious reproductive effects are well established. By contrast, information on the long term effects of DEHP in utero exposure on gonadal function are scarce, while its potential effects on other organs are just starting to emerge. The present review focuses on these novel findings, which suggest that DEHP exerts more complex and broader disruptive effects on the endocrine system and metabolism than previously thought. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled "CSR 2013".

Copyright © 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


2-ethylhexanoic acid; 22R-OHC; 22R-hydroxycholesterol; ACTH; ALC; ATIIR; DEHP; DHEA; DHEAS; EHXA; Endocrine disruptor; Environment; FSH; GD; GnRH; LH; MEHP; MIS; MR; MSRF; Müllerian inhibitory substance; PND; PPAR; PVC; Phthalate; ROS; SRY; STAR; Sex-differences; Steroid hormones; T3; T4; TDS; TSH; TSPO; ZF; ZG; ZR; adrenocorticotropic hormone; adult Leydig cells; angiotensin receptor; dehydroepiandrosterone; di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate; follicle-stimulating hormone; gestational day; gonadotropin-releasing hormone; luteinizing hormone; methylation-sensitive restriction finger printing; mineralocorticoid receptor; mono(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate; peroxisome proliferator activated receptor; polyvinyl chloride; postnatal day; reactive oxygen species; sex-determining region of the Y chromosome; steroidogenic acute regulatory protein; sulfated dehydroepiandrosterone; testicular dysgenesis syndrome; thyroid stimulating hormone; thyroxine; translocator protein (18-kDa); triiodothyronine; zona fasciculata; zona glomerulosa; zona reticularis

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