Phthalates are used in consumer products and are known endocrine-disrupting chemicals. However, limited information is available on the effects of phthalate mixtures on female reproduction. Previously, we developed a phthalate mixture made of 35% diethyl phthalate, 21% di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, 15% dibutyl phthalate, 15% di-isononyl phthalate, 8% di-isobutyl phthalate, and 5% benzylbutyl phthalate that mimics human exposure. We tested the effects of prenatal exposure to this mixture on reproductive outcomes in first-filial-generation (F1) female mice and found that it impaired reproductive outcomes. However, the impact of this exposure on second-filial-generation (F2) and third-filial-generation (F3) females was unknown. Thus, we hypothesized that prenatal exposure to the phthalate mixture induces multigenerational and transgenerational effects on female reproduction. Pregnant CD-1 dams were orally dosed with vehicle (tocopherol-stripped corn oil) or a phthalate mixture (20 and 200 mg/kg/d, 200 and 500 mg/kg/d) daily from gestational day 10 to birth. Adult F1 females born to these dams were used to generate the F2 generation and adult F2 females born to F1 females were used to generate the F3 generation. F2 and F3 females were subjected to tissue collections and fertility tests. Prenatal phthalate mixture exposure increased uterine weight, anogenital distance, and body weight; induced cystic ovaries; and caused fertility complications in the F2 generation. It also increased uterine weight, decreased anogenital distance, and caused fertility complications in the F3 generation. These data suggest that prenatal exposure to the phthalate mixture induces multigenerational and transgenerational effects on female reproduction.
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