In utero effects of chemicals on reproductive tissues in females

Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2004 Jul 15;198(2):111-31. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2003.07.016.


Chemicals found in the environment as industrial byproducts or pollutants as well as those that are prescribed or part of our daily lives can have multiple effects on the human body. The manner in which we are exposed, and the levels we are exposed to are significant contributing factors. Adults have the bodily defense mechanisms in place to combat exposures to adverse toxicants and general pollution at a variety of levels. However, developing organisms may not have adequate defense mechanisms, and toxicants can have a significant effect on their health and development. In this review, we take particular note of the toxicities of chemicals on the developing female reproductive system as a result of in utero exposure. Environmental and prescribed chemicals such as 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), diethylstilbestrol, and genistein, as well as others, will be reviewed for their in utero toxicity in the neuroendocrine system, the ovary, oviduct, placenta, uterus, vagina, cervix, and mammary gland.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Environmental Pollutants / metabolism
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Fallopian Tubes / drug effects
  • Fallopian Tubes / embryology
  • Fallopian Tubes / metabolism
  • Female
  • Genital Diseases, Female / chemically induced*
  • Genital Diseases, Female / congenital*
  • Genitalia, Female / drug effects
  • Genitalia, Female / embryology*
  • Humans
  • Mammary Glands, Human / drug effects
  • Mammary Glands, Human / embryology
  • Neurosecretory Systems / drug effects
  • Neurosecretory Systems / embryology
  • Ovary / drug effects
  • Ovary / embryology
  • Ovary / metabolism
  • Placenta / metabolism
  • Pregnancy


  • Environmental Pollutants