Toxicology in vitro : an international journal published in association with BIBRA

Comparative evaluation of nonylphenol isomers on steroidogenesis of rat Leydig Cells.

PMID 22771390


Nonylphenol (NP) has been proven to be one of the most investigated xenohormones interacting with the estrogen receptor. Technical nonylphenol (t-NP) contains at least 20 para-substituted isomers. It has been shown that NP isomers vary in their estrogenic potency. So the use of mixtures or impure substances can lead to misinterpretations and unsatisfying conclusions. In the present study, experiments were performed to examine effects of NP isomers on steroidogenesis of rat Leydig cells. Primary cultured Leydig cells were exposed to NP isomers (p33-NP, p262-NP, p353-NP, p363-NP) at the optimized inhibitory concentration 5μmol/L for 6h. NP isomers showed various degrees of inhibition of testosterone biosynthesis, with p363-NP leading to the most significant decrease and others sharing the similar efficacy. The expression of 3b-HSD, Cyp11a1, Star and the apoptosis of Leydig cells were further measured to investigate the underlying mechanisms. We demonstrated that NP isomers can affect the steroidogenesis of rat Leydig cells, at least in part, through their influence on gene expression and cell apoptosis, but varied in their individual degree. However, the final results were not completely coincident with their estrogenic potency tested in vitro, which implies that effects of NP isomers on steroidogenesis appear to be mediated through some other underlying mechanisms besides their various estrogenic potency.