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Endocrinology. 2018 Feb 1;159(2):1050-1061. doi: 10.1210/en.2017-00614.

Reproductive Alterations in Chronically Exposed Female Mice to Environmentally Relevant Doses of a Mixture of Phthalates and Alkylphenols.

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Departamento de Fisiología, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile.


Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are exogenous compounds that modify hormone biosynthesis, causing adverse effects to human health. Among them, phthalates and alkylphenols are important due to their wide use in plastics, detergents, personal care products, cosmetics, and food packaging. However, their conjoint effects over reproductive female health have not been addressed. The aim of this work was to test the effect of chronically exposed female mice to a mixture of three phthalates [bis (2-ethylhexyl), dibutyl, and benzyl butyl] and two alkylphenols (4-nonylphenol and 4-tert-octylphenol) from conception to adulthood at environmentally relevant doses. These EDCs were administered in two doses: one below the minimal risk dose to cause adverse effects on human development and reproduction [1 mg/kg body weight (BW)/d of the total mixture] and the other one based on the reference value close to occupational exposure in humans (10 mg/kg BW/d of the total mixture). Our results show that both doses had similar effects regarding the uterus and ovary relative weight, estrous cyclicity, serum levels of progesterone and 17β-estradiol, and expression of key elements in the steroidogenesis pathway (acute steroidogenic regulatory protein and CYP19A1). However, only the 1-mg/kg BW/d dose delayed the onset of puberty and the transition from preantral to antral follicles, whereas the 10-mg/kg BW/d dose decreased the number of antral follicles and gonadotropin receptor expression. In addition, we observed changes in several fertility parameters in exposed females and in their progeny (F2 generation). In conclusion, our results indicate that chronic exposure to a complex EDC mixture, at environmentally relevant doses, modifies reproductive parameters in female mice.

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