Triclocarban enhances testosterone action: a new type of endocrine disruptor?

Endocrinology. 2008 Mar;149(3):1173-9. doi: 10.1210/en.2007-1057. Epub 2007 Nov 29.


Many xenobiotics have been associated with endocrine effects in a wide range of biological systems. These associations are usually between small nonsteroid molecules and steroid receptor signaling systems. In this report, triclocarban (TCC; 3,4,4'-trichlorocarbanilide), a common ingredient in personal care products that is used as an antimicrobial agent was evaluated and found to represent a new category of endocrine-disrupting substance. A cell-based androgen receptor-mediated bioassay was used to demonstrate that TCC and other urea compounds with a similar structure, which have little or no endocrine activity when tested alone, act to enhance testosterone (T)-induced androgen receptor-mediated transcriptional activity in vitro. This amplification effect of TCC was also apparent in vivo when 0.25% TCC was added to the diet of castrated male rats that were supported by exogenous testosterone treatment for 10 d. All male sex accessory organs increased significantly in size after the T+TCC treatment, compared with T or TCC treatments alone. The data presented here suggest that the bioactivity of endogenous hormones may be amplified by exposure to commercial personal care products containing sufficient levels of TCC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / pharmacology*
  • Carbanilides / pharmacology*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Drug Synergism
  • Endocrine Disruptors / pharmacology*
  • Genitalia, Male / drug effects*
  • Genitalia, Male / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Prostate / drug effects*
  • Prostate / pathology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism
  • Testosterone / pharmacology*


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Carbanilides
  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Testosterone
  • triclocarban
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Cyclic AMP-Dependent Protein Kinases