Prenatal exposure to endocrine disruptors can lead to early infertility over several generations, reveals a recent study conducted in mice.
Some chemicals found in a variety of consumer products commonly used in recent decades can contribute to the substantial decline in sperm count and sperm quality in men, suggests a new study conducted in mice, the results of which will be published on Monday, March 19th, at the ENDO 2018, 100th Annual Meeting of the Endocrine Society (USA).
The researchers studied the effect of phthalate, one of the best known endocrine disruptors. It is found in a wide range of industrial and consumer products, including polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes and tubes, cosmetics, medical devices and plastic toys. The authors of the study exposed several male mice at phthalate doses for a period of 11 days from conception to birth.
The study found that male mice exposed to phthalate before birth had a reduced amount of testosterone and spermatozoa. According to the scientists who led this work, this exposure to phthalate resulted in early infertility in mice. “These findings suggest that when a mother is exposed to an endocrine disruptor during pregnancy, her son and future generations may suffer from decreased fertility or hormonal insufficiency,” says Radwa Barakat, a professor at the College of Veterinary Medicine and lead author of the study.
The authors of the study also indicate that adult males born from these mice were reared with unexposed female mice, to produce a second generation of mice. The process was then renewed, giving birth to a third generation. When each generation of male mice reached the age of 15 months, researchers measured their sex hormone levels, sperm concentrations, and sperm motility (ie the speed at which they move). ).
The second-generation male mice that received the highest doses of phthalate exhibited abnormalities in their reproductive system: lower testosterone concentration, lower spermatozoa levels, and reduced motility. These dysfunctions were also detected in third-generation male mice, including those who received a lower dose of the endocrine disruptor.
“This study highlights the importance of educating the public to do their best to reduce their exposure to this endocrine disruptor and proves that it is necessary to replace this chemical with a safer product,” says Radwa Barakat.