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Claire de Thoisy-Méchin

Press Relations

Tel. +33 (0)1 44 27 23 34

Email: claire.de_thoisy-mechin@upmc.fr


In English:

Katherine Tyrka

International Press Relations

tel. +33 (0)1 44 27 51 05

Email: katherine.tyrka@upmc.fr

When a Phthalate Disrupts Mating Rituals in Mice...

Plasticizers are used in everyday products1, and these phthalates are classified as endocrine disruptors for their damaging effects on the development of the male reproductive system, in both rodents and humans.

For the first time, researchers have showw that one phthalate, DEHP, can also have consequences in adulthood at low doses (doses found in the environment and tolerable daily intake)2. In a work financed by ANSES3, biologists from the Neurosciences Paris-Seine Laboratory4 showed that adult male mice chronically exposed to DEHP behaved less seductively to females. In fact, the mice emit fewer ultrasonic vocalisations to sexually receptive females, and are therefore the females find them less attractive. In collaboration with colleagues from the Physiology of Reproduction and Behavior Laboratory5, the researchers were able to shed some light on this mechanism. They found a smaller number of androgen receptors6 in the hypothalamus (a region of the brain) of exposed males, with no change in testosterone levels. However, in many species of vertebrates, courting behaviors whose nuptial song are regulated by testosterone particularly via this receptor. In humans, this signaling pathway also controls certain aspects of sexuality (libido, erection). Phthalates could therefore be detrimental beyond embryonic and pubertal development.


1 Their use has been prohibited in children's toys but remains allowed in other products such as plastic bottles.

2 Toxicology studies had already been carried out with much higher doses.

3 National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health Safety.

4 This co-supervised CNRS/UPMC/Inserm laboratory is part of the Paris-Seine Institute of Biology (IBPS).

5 A co-supervised lab through Inra, the CNRS, François Rabelais University of Tours and the French Inttitute of Horses and Riding

6 Androgens are male hormones, such as testosterone.


Image: Phthalates are commonly used as plasticizers in many consumer products. © Pixabay


For more information:

Le site de l'institut de biologie Paris-SeineNouvelle fenêtre