Dietary exposure to di-isobutyl phthalate increases urinary 5-methyl-2′-deoxycytidine level and affects reproductive function in adult male mice

Yitao Pan , Xiaoyang Wang , Leo W.Y. Yeung , Nan Sheng , Qianqian Cui , Ruina Cui , Hongxia Zhang , Jiayin Dai


Received January 19, 2017,Revised April 27, 2017, Accepted April 28, 2017, Available online May 25, 2017

Volume 29,2017,Pages 14-23

Phthalates are a large family of ubiquitous environmental pollutants suspected of being endocrine disruptors. Epidemiological studies have associated phthalate metabolites with decreased reproductive parameters and linked phthalate exposure with the level of urinary 5-methyl-2′-deoxycytidine (5mdC, a product of methylated DNA). In this study, adult male mice were exposed to 450 mg di-isobutyl phthalate (DiBP)/(kg·day) via dietary exposure for 28 days. Mono-isobutyl phthalate (MiBP, the urinary metabolite) and reproductive function parameters were determined. The levels of 5mdC and 5-hydroxymethyl-2′-deoxycytidine (5hmdC) were measured in urine to evaluate if their contents were also altered by DiBP exposure in this animal model. Results showed that DiBP exposure led to a significant increase in the urinary 5mdC level and significant decreases in sperm concentration and motility in the epididymis, accompanied with reduced testosterone levels and down-regulation of the P450 cholesterol side-chain cleavage enzyme (P450scc) gene in the mice testes. Our findings indicated that exposure to DiBP increased the urinary 5mdC levels, which supported our recent epidemiological study about the associations of urinary 5mdC with phthalate exposure in the male human population. In addition, DiBP exposure impaired male reproductive function, possibly by disturbing testosterone levels; P450scc might be a major steroidogenic enzyme targeted by DiBP or other phthalates.

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