Effects of Polychlorinated Biphenyls on Animal Reproductive Systems and Epigenetic Modifications

Bull Environ Contam Toxicol. 2021 Sep;107(3):398-405. doi: 10.1007/s00128-021-03285-6. Epub 2021 Jun 10.


Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are a group of highly toxic endocrine-disrupting chemicals comprising 209 homologs. PCBs are extensively found in the environment and can induce typical estrogenic and profound, long-lasting effects on animals. In this article, the introduction of PCB residues into the environment and the pathways of PCB enrichment in animals are described. PCBs are widely deposited and eventually accumulate in human tissues and body fluids through biomagnification. PCBs can significantly decrease animal fertility and interfere with endocrine processes, leading to the development of various diseases and even cancer. The effects of PCBs on the reproductive systems of animals can also be passed to their offspring, indicating that PCBs may affect the epigenetic modification process. There is currently no treatment to effectively inhibit the toxicity of PCBs in organisms; therefore, the severity of PCB toxicity needs to be widely recognized.

Keywords: Endocrine disruptor; Epigenetic modification; PCBs; Reproductive system; Toxicity.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bioaccumulation
  • Endocrine Disruptors* / toxicity
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Genitalia / chemistry
  • Humans
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls* / analysis
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls* / toxicity


  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls