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Estrogenic Pyrethroid Pesticides Regulate Expression of Estrogen Receptor Transcripts in Mouse Sertoli Cells Differently From 17-Estradiol

Abstract

Studies suggested that exposure to agricultural pesticides may affect male fertility. Pyrethroids are widely used pesticides due to their insecticidal potency and low mammalian toxicity. A recombinant yeast assay system incorporating the human α-estrogen receptor was used to analyze the estrogenicity of a range of readily available pyrethroid pesticides. The commercial product Ripcord Plus showed estrogenic activity by this assay. To determine whether pyrethroid compounds might exert an effect on male fertility, mouse Sertoli cells were exposed in vitro to the endogenous estrogen, 17β-estradiol, and selected estrogenic pyrethroids. Following exposure, transcript levels of the α- and β-estrogen receptors were assessed. Exposure of Sertoli cells to the pyrethroid compounds, both at high and at low published serum concentrations, affected the expression of the two estrogen receptors; however, the influence on estrogen receptor gene expression was different from the effect from exposure to 17β-estradiol. These results from our model systems suggest that (1) estrogenic pyrethroid pesticides affect the estrogen receptors, and therefore potentially the endocrine system, in a different manner from that of endogenous estrogen, and (2) should cells in the male testes be exposed to pyrethroid pesticides, male fertility may be affected through molecular mechanisms involving estrogen receptors.

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