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Cell Death Dis. 2019 Apr 5;10(4):307. doi: 10.1038/s41419-019-1547-8.

Di-n-butyl phthalate epigenetically induces reproductive toxicity via the PTEN/AKT pathway.

Author information

1
Department of Urology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, 210029, Nanjing, China.
2
Department of Urology, Affiliated Hospital of Nantong University, 226001, Nantong, China.
3
Department of Pediatrics, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, 210029, Nanjing, China.
4
Jiangsu Province Hospital of Chinese Medicine, Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine, 210029, Nanjing, China.
5
Department of Urology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, 210029, Nanjing, China. zhangweiurology@163.com.
6
Department of Pediatrics, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, 210029, Nanjing, China. zhouguoping@jsph.org.cn.
7
Department of Urology, Nanjing First Hospital, Nanjing Medical University, 210006, Nanjing, China. qinzq_urology@sina.com.

Abstract

Di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP) is a kind of ubiquitous chemical linked to hormonal disruptions that affects male reproductive system. However, the mechanism of DBP-induced germ cells toxicity remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that DBP induces reduction of proliferation, increase of apoptosis and DNA damage dependent on the PTEN/AKT pathway. Mechanistically, DBP decreases PTEN promoter methylation and increases its transcriptional activity, leading to increased PTEN expression. Notably, DNMT3b is confirmed as a target of miR-29b and miR-29b-mediated status of PTEN methylation is involved in the effects of DBP treatment. Meanwhile, DBP decreases AKT pathway expression via increasing PTEN expression. In addition, the fact that DBP decreases the sperm number and the percentage of motile and progressive sperm is associated with downregulated AKT pathway and sperm flagellum-related genes. Collectively, these findings indicate that DBP induces aberrant PTEN demethylation, leading to inhibition of the AKT pathway, which contributes to the reproductive toxicity.

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