Combined effects of dietary phytoestrogen and synthetic endocrine-active compound on reproductive development in Sprague-Dawley rats: genistein and methoxychlor.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Humans and wildlife are frequently exposed to mixtures of endocrine active-compounds (EAC). The objective of the present study was to investigate the potential of the phytoestrogen genistein to influence the reproductive developmental toxicity of the endocrine-active pesticide methoxychlor. Three levels of genistein (0, 300, or 800 ppm) and two levels of methoxychlor (0 or 800 ppm) were used in this study. Sprague-Dawley rats were exposed to the two compounds, either alone or in combinations, through dietary administration to dams during pregnancy and lactation and to the offspring directly after weaning. Both compounds, methoxychlor in particular, were associated with reduced body growth at 800 ppm, but pregnancy outcome was not affected by either treatment. An acceleration of vaginal opening (VO) in the exposed female offspring was the only observed effect of genistein at 300 ppm. Exposure to 800 ppm genistein or 800 ppm methoxychlor caused accelerated VO and also altered estrous cyclicity toward persistent estrus in the female offspring. The estrogenic responses to genistein and methoxychlor administered together were apparently accumulative of the effects associated with each compound alone. Methoxychlor, but not genistein, delayed preputial separation (PPS) in the male rats. When administered with methoxychlor, genistein at 800 ppm enhanced the effect of methoxychlor on delaying PPS. Genistein and methoxychlor treatment did not change gender-specific motor activity patterns in either sex. To explore possible mechanisms for interaction between the two compounds on development, we performed estrogen receptor (ER)- and androgen receptor (AR)-based in vitro transcriptional activation assays using genistein and the primary methoxychlor metabolite 2,2-bis-(p-hydroxyphenyl)-1,1,1-trichloroethane (HPTE). While the in vitro assays supported the estrogenic effects of genistein and methoxychlor and the antiandrogenic effects of methoxychlor, the reactivity of these compounds with ERs alpha and beta could not predict the greater in vivo estrogenic potency of methoxychlor over genistein; nor could the potentiation of the methoxychlor effect on PPS by genistein be predicted based on in vitro HPTE and genistein reactions with the AR. Data from this study indicate that phytoestrogens are capable of altering the toxicological behaviors of other EACs, and the interactions of these compounds may involve complexities that are difficult to predict based on their in vitro steroid receptor reactivities.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • You, L; Casanova, M; Bartolucci, EJ; Fryczynski, MW; Dorman, DC; Everitt, JI; Gaido, KW; Ross, SM; Heck Hd, HD

Published Date

  • March 2002

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 66 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 91 - 104

PubMed ID

  • 11861976

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1096-6080

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1093/toxsci/66.1.91


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States