Endocrine disrupting compounds: effect of octylphenol on reproduction over three generations

I.B. Bogh, P. Christensen, V. Dantzer, M. Groot, I.C.N. Thofner, R.K. Rasmussen, M. Schmidt, T. Greve

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

48 Citations (Scopus)


With the growing concern that environmental chemicals might impair human and animal fertility, it is important to investigate the possible influence of these substances on sexual differentiation and genital development of mammals. Many of these substances are suspected to interfere with endocrine processes, and exposure during critical periods of prenatal development might affect reproductive performance over several generations. Alkylphenols and their metabolites are lipophilic substances exerting apparent estrogenic action in in vitro and in vivo testing systems. With the widespread industrial use of alkylphenols, these are disseminated in the environment with sewage sludge, and domestic animals and humans are likely to be exposed via the food chain. Using the pig as an in vivo model, we studied the effect of intrauterine exposure to tertiary octylphenol (OP) on essential reproductive parameters over 3 generations. Sows were treated daily from D 23 to 85 of pregnancy with either 0, 10 or 1000 μg OP/kg body weight. Treatment with OP extended pregnancy length and induced basal cell proliferation in the cervical epithelium of the parental generation. In F1 offspring of sows treated with the low dosage of OP, onset of puberty was accelerated. Furthermore, when F1 gilts and F1 boars originating from sows treated with high dosages of OP were bred, the litter size was reduced. The results of the present study are compared with previous reports on estrogenicity of OP, and the usefulness of in vivo animal or embryo models for the evaluation of possible consequences of human exposure to endocrine disrupting compounds is discussed. Furthermore, possible consequences of exposure to endocrine disrupting compounds for the embryo transfer industry are addressed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-150
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2001


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