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Reproduction. 2005 Apr;129(4):379-89.

Molecular interactions of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor and its biological and toxicological relevance for reproduction.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Grosse Steinstrasse 52, D-06097, Halle (Saale), Germany.


The dioxin/aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) is a ligand-activated transcription factor responsive to both natural and man-made environmental compounds. AhR and its nuclear partner ARNT are expressed in the female reproductive tract in a variety of species and several indications suggest that the AhR might play a pivotal role in the physiology of reproduction. Furthermore, it appears to be the mediator of most, if not all, the adverse effects on reproduction of a group of highly potent environmental pollutants collectively called aryl hydrocarbons (AHs), including the highly toxic compound 2,3,7,8-tetrachlor-odibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD). Although a large body of recent literature has implicated AhR in multiple signal transduction pathways, the mechanisms of action resulting in a wide spectrum of effects on female reproduction are largely unknown. Here we summarize the major types of molecular cross-talks that have been identified for the AhR and linked cell signaling pathways and that are relevant for the understanding of the role of this transcription factor in female reproduction.

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