Project Details


Endocrine-disrupting chemicals or EDCs are a group of environmental chemicals that are common in the environment. EDCs alter the normal function of the endocrine system in the body and cause adverse developmental and reproductive effects. These chemicals are both natural and man-made, and include pharmaceuticals, DDT and other pesticides, and plasticizers, such as bisphenol A and phthalates. Various human populations, including children are exposed to these chemicals daily. When a developing individual is exposed to these chemicals, the effects can be long lasting and manifest as precocious puberty, irregular reproductive cycles, subfertility or infertility, or cancer later in life.Our research focuses on the reproductive and developmental effects of phthalates in females. Since phthalates are known to oppose the action of androgens, which in general are considered to be male hormones and are critical for normal male development, the past research in the field has mostly focused on the effects of phthalates in male reproductive development. Thus, the actions of phthalates on female development are less known. Our proposed research aims to fill these knowledge gaps.In addition, phthalates are found in the serum and tissues of farm animals and known to affect the ovarian development. However, to better understand the mechanisms of actions of these chemicals, including the molecules that mediate the effects of phthalates in the ovary, additional research is needed.To this end, we will use inbred rats as a model animal to study the effects of two phthalates: DEHP and DiNP. DEHP is one of the most commonly used phthalates. Due to DEHP's known adverse effects in males, DiNP has been used as its replacement because DiNP was considered safer. However, studies in males suggest that the safety of DiNP should be questioned more thoroughly. In addition, virtually nothing is known about DiNP's effects in females. Therefore, we will expose pregnant and lactating female rats to DEHP or DiNP at doses that various human populations are exposed. We will then study the effects of the exposure in the female offspring, specifically focusing on the ovarian structure and function to assess the effects of these chemicals on female reproduction. We will also analyze the changes in the expression levels of molecules in the ovary and identity any relationship among the structural, functional and molecular changes.Our goal is to better understand the developmental effects of phthalates in the ovary and on female reproduction. This understanding will help us to better assess the potential risks of phthalates in female infants and children, and develop protection or therapy against these and similar chemicals. In addition, this understanding can help changing animal production practices and improving reproductive performances of farm animals.
Effective start/end date9/2/168/31/21


  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture (National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA))


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