Journal Article

Atrazine Oral Exposure of Peripubertal Male Rats Downregulates Steroidogenesis Gene Expression in Leydig Cells

Kristina Pogrmic, Svetlana Fa, Vanja Dakic, Sonja Kaisarevic and Radmila Kovacevic

in Toxicological Sciences

Volume 111, issue 1, pages 189-197
Published in print September 2009 | ISSN: 1096-6080
Published online June 2009 | e-ISSN: 1096-0929 | DOI:
Atrazine Oral Exposure of Peripubertal Male Rats Downregulates Steroidogenesis Gene Expression in Leydig Cells

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In the present study, we investigated the effects of oral dosing of atrazine (2-chloro-4-ethylamino-6-isopropylamino-s-triazine) to peripubertal male rats (50 and 200 mg/kg body weight daily from postnatal days 23–50) on ex vivo Leydig cell steroidogenesis. Leydig cells from treated rats were characterised by significant decline in mRNA transcripts of several genes responsible for steroidogenesis: luteinizing hormone receptor (LHR), scavenger receptor-B1, steroidogenic acute regulatory protein, translocator protein, steroidogenic factor-1, phosphodiesterase 4B, 3β−hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (HSD), CYP17A1, and 17βHSD. In the presence of human chorion gonadotropin, the dose-dependent decrease in extracellular cAMP level and accordingly strong inhibition of androgenesis were obtained. The transcription of LHR gene in Leydig cells of atrazine-treated rats was downregulated in a dose-dependent manner, which could be the reason for reduction in cAMP level and expression of cAMP-dependent genes. To clarify the activity of the steroidogenic enzymes responsible for androgenesis, purified Leydig cells were challenged with different steroid substrates (22OH-cholesterol, pregnenolone, progesterone, and Δ4–androstenedione), and the obtained results indicated inhibition of androgen production in Leydig cells isolated from atrazine-treated animals in the presence of all those substrates. However, when Leydig cells were challenged with 22OH-cholesterol, the progesterone level in the incubation medium was unchanged, indicating that decrease in cholesterol transport and/or CYP17A1 and 17βHSD activity are most probably responsible for inhibition of androgen production after the addition of different substrates. Our results demonstrated that in vivo exposure to atrazine affects Leydig cell steroidogenesis via the inhibition of steroidogenesis gene expression, which is accompanied by decreased androgenesis.

Keywords: atrazine; gene expression; LC steroidogenesis

Journal Article.  5922 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medical Toxicology ; Toxicology (Non-medical)

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