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Toxicol Sci. 2018 Jul 1;164(1):166-178. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfy069.

Mixed "Antiandrogenic" Chemicals at Low Individual Doses Produce Reproductive Tract Malformations in the Male Rat.

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National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Toxicity Assessment Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Research and Development, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27711.
Southern Research, Birmingham, Alabama 35205.


Biomonitoring efforts have clearly shown that all humans are exposed to chemical mixtures. Of concern is whether or not exposure to mixtures during pregnancy contributes to congenital abnormalities in children even when each chemical is at an individual dose that does not affect the fetus. Here, we hypothesized that in utero exposure to a mixture of chemicals covering multiple "antiandrogenic" mechanisms of action at doses that individually have no adverse effect would result in permanent reproductive tract alterations in the male rat after birth. Pregnant dams were exposed to a range of dilutions (100%, 50%, 25%, 12.5%, 6.25%, or vehicle control) of a mixture containing pesticides, phthalates, and drugs (p, p'-DDE, linuron, prochloraz, procymidone, pyrifluquinazon, vinclozolin, finasteride, flutamide, simvastatin, and 9 phthalates [dipentyl, dicyclohexyl, di-2-ethylhexyl, dibutyl, benzyl butyl, diisobutyl, diisoheptyl, dihexyl, and diheptyl]). The top dose contained each chemical at 20% of its lowest observed adverse effect level (LOAEL) for the most sensitive male reproductive alteration following in utero exposure. We found that male rat offspring displayed a variety of neonatal, pubertal, and permanent adult effects across all dose levels. Even at the lowest dose (each chemical approximately 80-fold below lowest observed adverse effect level) there were permanent reductions in several reproductive tract tissue weights. In the top dose group, 100% of male offspring displayed permanent severe birth defects including genital malformations. Despite acting via 5 different molecular initiating events, a mixture of 18 chemicals can combine to produce additive effects even when each compound is at is at a relatively low dose.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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