Several pesticides suspected or known to have endocrine disrupting effects were screened for pro- or antiandrogenic properties by determining their effects on proliferation, prostatic-specific antigen (PSA) secretion and androgen receptor (AR) expression, and AR phosphorylation in androgen-dependent LNCaP human prostate cancer cells, as well as on the expression and catalytic activity of the enzyme CYP17 in H295R human adrenocortical carcinoma cells, an in vitro model of steroidogenesis. Effects on SRD5A gene expression were determined in both cell lines. Benomyl, vinclozolin, and prochloraz, but not atrazine, concentration dependently (1-30 μM) decreased dihydrotestosterone (DHT)-stimulated proliferation of LNCaP cells. All pesticides except atrazine decreased DHT-stimulated PSA secretion, AR nuclear accumulation, and AR phosphorylation on serines 81 and 213 in LNCaP cells. Benomyl and prochloraz, but not vinclozolin or atrazine, decreased levels of CYP17 gene and protein expression, as well as catalytic activity in H295R cells. In the case of prochloraz, some of these effects corresponded with cytotoxicity. H295R cells expressed AR protein and SRD5A1, but not SRD5A2 transcripts. SRD5A1 gene expression in H295R cells was increased by 10 nM DHT, whereas in LNCaP cells significant induction was observed by 0.1 nM DHT. AR protein expression in H295R cells was not increased by DHT. Vinclozolin decreased DHT-induced SRD5A1 gene expression in LNCaP, but not H295R cells, indicating a functional difference of AR between the cell lines. In conclusion, pesticides may exert antiandrogenic effects through several mechanisms that are cell type-specific, including AR antagonism and down-regulation or catalytic inhibition of androgen biosynthetic enzymes, such as CYP17 and SRD5A1.