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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Chronic administration of 4-tert-octylphenol to adult male rats causes shrinkage of the testes and male accessory sex organs, disrupts spermatogenesis, and increases the incidence of sperm deformities.

The environmental toxicant 4-tert-octylphenol (OP) has been shown to exert estrogenic effects on mammalian cells in culture. Recent findings from our laboratories demonstrate clearly that OP administration disrupts reproductive hormone secretion in the adult male rat, quite likely as a result of estrogenic action. In the present study, we investigated the impact of these or other OP-induced changes on male reproductive tissues. Adult male rats were injected with OP (20 or 80 mg) or estradiol valerate (EV; 0.8 or 8 microg) s.c. in oil three times a week for either 1 or 2 mo. We found that an 80-mg dosage of OP for 2 mo or an 8-microg dosage of EV for 1 or 2 mo greatly reduced sperm numbers and adversely influenced the sizes, weights, and histological structures of the testes, epididymides, ventral prostate glands, seminal vesicles, and coagulating glands. The 80-mg dosage of OP for 1 mo reduced epididymal tubule size to a lesser extent than after 2 mo of treatment. Otherwise, treatment with 80 mg OP for 1 mo, 20 mg OP for 1 or 2 mo, or 0.8 microg EV for 1 mo had little or no effect on the histology of the tissues we examined. Additional evaluation of sperm morphology revealed marked increases in the proportions of head and tail abnormalities from animals that had received 80 mg of OP or 8 microg of EV for 1 mo and 20 mg of OP for 2 mo. The head abnormalities consisted mainly of pin heads, detached heads, and the absence of hooks, while tail abnormalities included mainly broken, coiled, and bent tails. Our results clearly demonstrate that OP can severely reduce the size and/or function of all of the male gametogenic and accessory reproductive organs studied. Moreover, the similarity of these cell and tissue changes between rats treated with OP and those treated with EV further suggests that OP may exert its action in an estrogenic-like manner.[1]


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