Developmental exposure to environmental chemicals with estrogen-like activity is suspected to permanently impair women's health. In this study, a mouse model was used to evaluate whether tris(2,6-dimethylphenyl) phosphate (TDMPP), a chemical with a putative estrogen-like action, impairs sexual differentiation of the brain. Either TDMPP and 17β-estradiol (E2) as positive controls or sesame oil as a negative control were administered subcutaneously to dams from gestational day (GD) 14 to parturition, and to pups from postnatal day (PND) 0 to 9. Precocious puberty, irregular estrous cycles, and a lowered lordosis response were found in the TDMPP- and E2-treated groups. A certain amount of TDMPP and its metabolites in the perinatal brain and the masculinization of sexual dimorphic nuclei in the hypothalamus of female mice after treatment were also detected. The experimental evidence demonstrates that TDMPP directly enters the fetal and neonatal brain, thereby inducing changes of sex-related brain structures and impairing female reproductive functions.
Keywords: Environmental chemicals; Estrogen-like activity; Sexual differentiation; Tris(2,6-dimethylphenyl) phosphate.
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