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Toxicol Sci. 1998 Oct;45(2):162-73.

Impaired male sexual development in perinatal Sprague-Dawley and Long-Evans hooded rats exposed in utero and lactationally to p,p'-DDE.

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Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709, USA.


Although the pesticide DDT has been banned in the United States for decades, it remains at low levels in the environment. p,p'-DDE, a metabolite of DDT, was recently shown to inhibit the binding of androgens to the androgen receptor and to exert antiandrogenic effects in perinatal Long-Evans (LE) rats at a dose of 100 mg/kg/day administered to pregnant dams. In this study, we compared the effects of p,p'-DDE on male sexual development in offspring of Sprague-Dawley (SD) and LE rats. The chemical was dosed by gavage to pregnant dams at 10 or 100 mg/kg body wt from gestation day 14 to 18. The developing male rats were examined for sexual developmental landmarks, while the effects of p,p'-DDE on androgen receptor expression were evaluated in the testis and other reproductive organs. The tissue dosimetry of p,p'-DDE was also determined at different stages of development following in utero and lactational exposures. The higher p,p'-DDE dose induced a reduction in the male anogenital distance, an increase in retention of male thoracic nipples and alterations in expression of the androgen receptor in either one or both strains. A much weaker response was seen in the lower dose groups. Tissue and body fluid concentrations of p,p'-DDE were similar in the two strains in some tissues but dissimilar in others, particularly in the serum levels. Higher serum p,p'-DDE levels in the LE strain during pregnancy corresponded with an overall greater sensitivity of the LE strain to the antiandrogenic effects of p,p'-DDE. These results support the previous findings of p,p'-DDE antiandrogenicity in LE rats, extend the findings to SD rats, and suggest that the developmental effects of p,p'-DDE on male rat sexual differentiation are minimal at maternal doses below 10 mg/kg/day.

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