Article

Endocrine-disrupting properties in vivo of widely used azole fungicides

Department of Toxicology and Risk Assessment, National Food Institute, Technical University of Denmark, Søborg, Denmark.
International Journal of Andrology (Impact Factor: 3.21). 05/2008; 31(2):170-7. DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2605.2007.00838.x
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT The endocrine-disrupting potential of four commonly used azole fungicides, propiconazole, tebuconazole, epoxiconazole and ketoconazole, were tested in two short-term in vivo studies. Initially, the antiandrogenic effects of propiconazole and tebuconazole (50, 100 and 150 mg/kg body weight/day each) were examined in the Hershberger assay. In the second study, pregnant Wistar rats were dosed with propiconazole, tebuconazole, epoxiconazole or ketoconazole (50 mg/kg/day each) from gestational day (GD) 7 to GD 21. Caesarian sections were performed on dams at GD 21. Tebuconazole and propiconazole demonstrated no antiandrogenic effects at doses between 50 and 150 mg/kg body weight/day in the Hershberger assay. In the in utero exposure toxicity study, ketoconazole, a pharmaceutical to treat human fungal infections, decreased anogenital distance and reduced testicular testosterone levels, demonstrating a demasculinizing effect on male fetuses. Tebuconazole, epoxiconazole and ketoconazole induced a high-frequency of post-implantation loss, and both ketoconazole and epoxiconazole caused a marked increase in late and very late resorptions. Overall the results show that many of the commonly used azole fungicides act as endocrine disruptors in vivo, although the profile of action in vivo varies. As ketoconazole is known to implicate numerous endocrine-disrupting effects in humans, the concern for the effects of the other tested azole fungicides in humans is growing.

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    • "Conazoles are known to have in vivo endocrine disruptive effects in mammals. For instance, demasculinization of male rat fetuses occurred upon in utero exposure to several conazoles [13]. Yet, it remains to be investigated to what extent the known effects of a few tested conazoles are reminiscent for the whole group of conazoles. "
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    ABSTRACT: Conazole fungicides are widely used in agriculture despite their suspected endocrine disrupting properties. In this study, the potential (anti-)androgenic effects of ten conazoles were assessed and mutually compared with existing data. Effects of cyproconazole (CYPRO), fluconazole (FLUC), flusilazole (FLUS), hexaconazole (HEXA), myconazole (MYC), penconazole (PEN), prochloraz (PRO), tebuconazole (TEBU), triadimefon (TRIA), and triticonazole (TRIT) were examined using murine Leydig (MA-10) cells and human T47D-ARE cells stably transfected with an androgen responsive element and a firefly luciferase reporter gene. Six conazoles caused a decrease in basal testosterone (T) secretion by MA-10 cells varying from 61% up to 12% compared to vehicle-treated control. T secretion was concentration-dependently inhibited after exposure of MA-10 cells to several concentrations of FLUS (IC50 = 12.4 μM) or TEBU (IC50 = 2.4 μM) in combination with LH. The expression of steroidogenic and cholesterol biosynthesis genes was not changed by conazole exposure. Also, there were no changes in reactive oxygen species (ROS) formation that could explain the altered T secretion after exposure to conazoles. Nine conazoles decreased T-induced AR activation (IC50s ranging from 10.7 to 71.5 μM) and effect potencies (REPs) were calculated relative to the known AR antagonist flutamide (FLUT). FLUC had no effect on AR activation by T. FLUS was the most potent (REP = 3.61) and MYC the least potent (REP = 0.03) AR antagonist. All other conazoles had a comparable REP from 0.12 to 0.38. Our results show distinct in vitro anti-androgenic effects of several conazole fungicides arising from two mechanisms: inhibition of T secretion and AR antagonism, suggesting potential testicular toxic effects. These effects warrant further mechanistic investigation and clearly show the need for accurate exposure data in order to perform proper (human) risk assessment of this class of compounds.
    Toxicology Reports 12/2014; 1. DOI:10.1016/j.toxrep.2014.05.006
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    • "These findings suggest that ketoconazole has the potential of decreasing androgen production by human FLCs and affecting proper masculinization and the development of male reproductive organs in humans. Experiments on pregnant rats showed that ketoconazole reduces the testosterone production and alters masculinization only after exposure of pregnant dams from e7 to e21,120 with no demasculinization of males observed after treatment from e14 to lactational d3,121 indicating that the androgen-dependent morphogenesis of the external genitalia take places specifically between e7 and e14 in rats. "
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    ABSTRACT: During the past few decades, scientific evidence has been accumulated concerning the possible adverse effects of the exposure to environmental chemicals on the well-being of wildlife and human populations. One large and growing group of such compounds of anthropogenic or natural origin is referred to as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), due to their deleterious action on the endocrine system. This concern was first focused on the control of reproductive function particularly in males, but has later been expanded to include all possible endocrine functions. The present review describes the underlying physiology behind the cascade of developmental events that occur during sexual differentiation of males and the specific role of androgen in the masculinization process and proper organogenesis of the external male genitalia. The impact of the genetic background, environmental exposures and lifestyle factors in the etiology of hypospadias, cryptorchidism and testicular cancer are reviewed and the possible role of EDCs in the development of these reproductive disorders is discussed critically. Finally, the possible direct and programming effects of exposures in utero to widely use therapeutic compounds, environmental estrogens and other chemicals on the incidence of reproductive abnormalities and poor semen quality in humans are also highlighted.
    Asian Journal of Andrology 01/2014; 16(1):50-9. DOI:10.4103/1008-682X.122199 · 2.53 Impact Factor
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    • "In a follow-up study, pregnant rats were administered 0 or 50 mg/kg epoxiconazole by gavage from GD 7-21 (Taxvig et al., 2008). Treatment induced post-implantation loss, an increase in late and very late resorptions and an increase in fetal weight in both sexes. "
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    ABSTRACT: Abstract Conventional risk assessments for crop protection chemicals compare the potential for causing toxicity (hazard identification) to anticipated exposure. New regulatory approaches have been proposed that would exclude exposure assessment and just focus on hazard identification based on endocrine disruption. This review comprises a critical analysis of hazard, focusing on the relative sensitivity of endocrine and non-endocrine endpoints, using a class of crop protection chemicals, the azole fungicides. These were selected because they are widely used on important crops (e.g. grains) and thereby can contact target and non-target plants and enter the food chain of humans and wildlife. Inhibition of lanosterol 14α-demethylase (CYP51) mediates the antifungal effect. Inhibition of other CYPs, such as aromatase (CYP19), can lead to numerous toxicological effects, which are also evident from high dose human exposures to therapeutic azoles. Because of its widespread use and substantial database, epoxiconazole was selected as a representative azole fungicide. Our critical analysis concluded that anticipated human exposure to epoxiconazole would yield a margin of safety of at least three orders of magnitude for reproductive effects observed in laboratory rodent studies that are postulated to be endocrine-driven (i.e. fetal resorptions). The most sensitive ecological species is the aquatic plant Lemna (duckweed), for which the margin of safety is less protective than for human health. For humans and wildlife, endocrine disruption is not the most sensitive endpoint. It is concluded that conventional risk assessment, considering anticipated exposure levels, will be protective of both human and ecological health. Although the toxic mechanisms of other azole compounds may be similar, large differences in potency will require a case-by-case risk assessment.
    Critical Reviews in Toxicology 11/2013; 44(2). DOI:10.3109/10408444.2013.855163 · 6.41 Impact Factor
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