The effects of an in utero exposure to 2,3,7,8-tetrachloro-dibenzo-p-dioxin on male reproductive function: identification of Ccl5 as a potential marker

Int J Androl. 2010 Apr;33(2):413-24. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2605.2009.01020.x. Epub 2009 Jan 3.


2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) and dioxin-like compounds are widely encountered toxic substances suspected of interfering with the endocrine systems of humans and wildlife, and of contributing to the loss of fertility. In this study, we determined the changes in testicular gene expression caused by in utero exposure to TCDD along with the intra-testicular testosterone levels, epididymal sperm reserves, daily sperm production (DSP) and testis histology. To this purpose, female pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats orally received TCDD (10, 100 or 200 ng/kg body weight) or vehicle at embryonic day 15, and the offspring was killed throughout development. Hepatic Cyp1a1 gene expression was measured in the offspring to confirm the exposure to TCDD. The gross histology of the testes and intra-testicular testosterone levels were normal among the studied groups. Sperm reserves were altered in 67-day-old rats of the TCDD-200 group, but not in 145-day-old animals or in the other TCDD-exposed groups. Nonetheless, fertility was not altered in males of the TCDD-200 group, and the F2 males generated had normal sperm reserves and DSP. Microarray analysis permitted the identification of eight differentially expressed genes in the 4-week-old testes of the TCDD-200 compared with that of the control group (cut-off value +/- 1.40), including the down-regulated chemokine Ccl5/Rantes. Inhibition of Ccl5/Rantes gene expression was observed throughout development in the TCDD-200 group, and at 67 and 145 days in the TCDD-100 group (animals of younger ages were not examined). Ccl5/Rantes gene expression was mostly confined in Leydig cells. F2 males generated from males of the TCDD-200 group had normal levels of Ccl5/Rantes in testis and Cyp1a1 in liver, which might indicate that Ccl5/Rantes is a marker of TCDD exposure in testis such as Cyp1a1 in liver. In conclusion, we demonstrated a decrease in Ccl5/Rantes RNA levels and a transitory decline in sperm reserves in the testes of rats of TCDD-dosed dams.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chemokine CCL5 / genetics*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1 / metabolism
  • Down-Regulation
  • Female
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins / toxicity*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / pathology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reproduction / drug effects*
  • Sperm Count
  • Testis / drug effects*
  • Testis / metabolism


  • Chemokine CCL5
  • Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxins
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1