Phthalates are used in a large variety of products, such as building materials, medical devices, and personal care products. Most previous studies on the toxicity of phthalates have focused on single phthalates, but it is also important to study the effects of phthalate mixtures because humans are exposed to phthalate mixtures. Thus, we tested the hypothesis that prenatal exposure to an environmentally relevant phthalate mixture adversely affects female reproduction in mice. To test this hypothesis, pregnant CD-1 dams were orally dosed with vehicle (tocopherol-stripped corn oil) or a phthalate mixture (20 and 200μg/kg/day, 200 and 500mg/kg/day) daily from gestational day 10 to birth. The mixture was based on the composition of phthalates detected in urine samples from pregnant women in Illinois. The mixture included 35% diethyl phthalate, 21% di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, 15% dibutyl phthalate, 15% diisononyl phthalate, 8% diisobutyl phthalate, and 5% benzylbutyl phthalate. Female mice born to the exposed dams were subjected to tissue collections and fertility tests at different ages. Our results indicate that prenatal exposure to the phthalate mixture significantly increased uterine weight and decreased anogenital distance on postnatal days 8 and 60, induced cystic ovaries at 13months, disrupted estrous cyclicity, reduced fertility-related indices, and caused some breeding complications at 3, 6, and 9months of age. Collectively, our data suggest that prenatal exposure to an environmentally relevant phthalate mixture disrupts aspects of female reproduction in mice.
Animals; Estrous Cycle/drug effects/physiology; Fertility/drug effects/physiology; Hazardous Substances/administration & dosage/toxicity; Maternal Exposure/adverse effects; Ovarian Cysts/chemically induced/pathology; Phthalic Acids/administration & dosage/toxicity; Pregnancy; Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects/chemically induced/pathology; Reproduction/drug effects/physiology; Uterus/drug effects/pathology; Environmentally relevant; Female reproduction; Phthalate mixture; Prenatal exposure; 6O7F7IX66E