Human-relevant exposure to di-n-butyl phthalate tampers with the ovarian insulin-like growth factor 1 system and disrupts folliculogenesis in young adult mice

Estela J. Jauregui, Maile McSwain, Xiaosong Liu, Kara Miller, Kimberlie Burns, Zelieann R. Craig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Phthalates are compounds used in consumer and medical products worldwide. Phthalate exposure in women has been demonstrated by detection of phthalate metabolites in their urine and ovarian follicular fluid. High urinary phthalate burden has been associated with reduced ovarian reserve and oocyte retrieval in women undergoing assisted reproduction. Unfortunately, no mechanistic explanation for these associations is available. In short term in vivo and in vitro animal studies modeling human-relevant exposures to di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP), we have identified ovarian folliculogenesis as a target for phthalate exposures. In the present study, we investigated whether DBP exposure negatively influences insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) signaling in the ovary and disrupts ovarian folliculogenesis. CD-1 female mice were exposed to corn oil (vehicle) or DBP (10 μg/kg/day, 100 μg/kg/day, or 1000 mg/kg/day) for 20-32 days. Ovaries were collected as animals reached the proestrus stage to achieve estrous cycle synchronization. Levels of mRNAs encoding IGF1 and 2 (Igf1 and Igf2), IGF1 receptor (Igf1r), and IGF-binding proteins 1-6 (Ifgbp1-6) were measured in whole ovary homogenates. Ovarian follicle counts and immunostaining for phosphorylated IGF1R protein (pIGF1R) were used to evaluate folliculogenesis and IGF1R activation, respectively. DBP exposure, at a realistic dose that some women may experience (100 μg/kg/day for 20-32 days), reduced ovarian Igf1 and Igf1r mRNA expression and reduced small ovarian follicle numbers and primary follicle pIGF1R positivity in DBP-treated mice. These findings reveal that DBP tampers with the ovarian IGF1 system and provide molecular insight into how phthalates could influence the ovarian reserve in females.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-52
Number of pages11
JournalToxicological Sciences
Volume195
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2023

Keywords

  • dibutyl phthalate
  • folliculogenesis
  • insulin-like growth factor
  • ovary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology

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