Toxicological sciences : an official journal of the Society of Toxicology

Dipentyl phthalate dosing during sexual differentiation disrupts fetal testis function and postnatal development of the male Sprague-Dawley rat with greater relative potency than other phthalates.

PMID 21177253


Phthalate esters (PEs) constitute a large class of plasticizer compounds that are widely used for many consumer product applications. Ten or more members of the PE class of compounds are known to induce male fetal endocrine toxicity and postnatal reproductive malformations by disrupting androgen production during the sexual differentiation period of development. An early study conducted in the rat pubertal model suggested that dipentyl phthalate (DPeP) may be a more potent testicular toxicant than some more extensively studied phthalates. Regulatory agencies require dose-response and potency data to facilitate risk assessment; however, very little data are currently available for DPeP. The goal of this study was to establish a more comprehensive data set for DPeP, focusing on dose-response and potency information for fetal and postnatal male reproductive endpoints. We dosed pregnant rats on gestational day (GD) 17 or GD 14-18 and subsequently evaluated fetal testicular testosterone (T) production on GD 17.5 and GD 18, respectively. We also dosed pregnant rats on GD 8-18 and evaluated early postnatal endpoints in male offspring. Comparison of these data to data previously obtained under similar conditions for di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate indicates that DPeP is approximately eightfold more potent in reducing fetal T production and two- to threefold more potent in inducing development of early postnatal male reproductive malformations. Additionally, fetal testicular T production was more sensitive to inhibitory effects of DPeP exposure than was gene expression of target genes involved in male reproductive development, supporting the use of this endpoint as a critical effect in the risk assessment process.

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