Mono-2-ethyhexyl phthalate (MEHP) is a metabolite of a plasticizer found in many consumer products. MEHP inhibits mouse ovarian follicle growth by reducing 17β-estradiol (E2) production. Yet, whether MEHP causes follicle death (atresia) is unclear. We hypothesized that MEHP causes atresia by altering apoptosis gene expression, and that E2 co-treatment blocks these effects. Follicles were exposed to MEHP (0.36-36μM)±E2 for 48-96h to determine the effect of MEHP±E2 on atresia and gene expression. MEHP increased atresia, but this effect was blocked by co-treatment with E2. MEHP increased the expression of the pro-apoptotic gene Aifm1, but decreased that of the pro-apoptotic gene Bok and the anti-apoptotic gene Bcl2l10. E2 interfered with MEHP-induced changes in Aifm1 and Bcl2l10. Our findings suggest that decreased E2 levels are required for MEHP-induced follicle atresia and that Aifm1, Bok, and Bcl2l10 are involved in this process.
ASJC Scopus subject areas