Phthalates are a family of chemicals that can be found in plastic and personal care products used by consumers every day and they are known endocrine disrupting chemicals that can disrupt female reproduction. In previous studies, an environmentally relevant phthalate mixture was shown to affect female reproduction in a transgenerational manner. However, limited information was available on the effect of phthalate mixtures on ovarian steroidogenesis and folliculogenesis. Ovarian steroidogenesis is important for producing hormones needed for reproduction and ovarian regulation, and folliculogenesis is essential for the development of ovarian follicles and successful fertility. Thus, this study tested the hypothesis that prenatal exposure to an environmentally relevant phthalate mixture adversely affects ovarian steroidogenesis and folliculogenesis in the F1 generation of adult female mice. Pregnant dams (F0 generation) were orally dosed with vehicle control or a phthalate mixture (20 μg/kg/day-500 mg/kg/day) daily from gestational day 10 to birth, and the adult F1 females were the offspring of the dosed dams. The ovaries of the F1 generation were collected at postnatal day 60. One ovary was used for histological examination of the numbers and percent of different follicle types. The other ovary was used to measure expression of theca and granulosa cell enzymes. Additionally, sera were collected for measuring hormone levels. The results indicate that prenatal exposure to the phthalate mixture decreases hormone levels and gene expression, alters the transitioning of follicle types, and leads to a higher incidence of atresia in the F1 generation offspring.
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