Perinatal exposure to genistein alters reproductive development and aggressive behavior in male mice

Wisniewski, A.B., Cernetich, A., Gearhart, J.P., Klein, S.L. (2005)

Physiology & Behavior, 84(2), 327-334

Exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals adversely affects reproductive development and behavior in males. The goal of this study was to determine if exposure to genistein, an isoflavone found in soy, during early periods of sex differentiation alters reproductive development and behavior in male mice. Female C57BL/6 mice were fed a phytoestrogen-free diet supplemented with 0, 5 or 300 mg/kg of genistein throughout gestation and lactation. Anogenital distance (AGD) and body mass of male offspring was measured weekly from postnatal days 2-21, timing of preputial separation was assessed at puberty, and in adulthood, reproductive organ masses, sperm and testosterone production, and reproductive and aggressive behaviors were assessed. Exposure to genistein resulted in smaller AGD and reduced body mass, with the low-dose diet exerting a greater effect. Timing of preputial separation, adult reproductive behavior, sperm concentrations and testosterone production were not influenced by genistein treatment at either dose. Aggressive behaviors were decreased, whereas defensive behaviors were increased, in males that received the low-dose genistein diet. Exposure to genistein during critical periods of sex differentiation results in concurrent and persistent demasculinization in male mice. Phenotypic and behavioral abnormalities induced by genistein showed a non-monotonic response, where treatment with a low dose exerted a greater effect than treatment with a high dose of genistein. Given the popularity of soy infant formulas, the influence of isoflavone exposure on reproductive and behavioral health in boys and men should be considered.

Subject headings: Administration, Oral; Age Factors; Aggression/drug effects; Analysis of Variance; Animals; Animals, Newborn; Behavior, Animal; Body Mass Index; Dose-Response Relationship, Drug; Eating/drug effects; Enzyme Inhibitors/pharmacology; Female; Genistein/pharmacology; Male; Mice; Mice, Inbred C57BL; Pregnancy; Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects; Radioimmunoassay/methods; Reaction Time/drug effects; Sexual Behavior, Animal/drug effects; Sperm Count/methods; Testis/drug effects/growth & development; Time Factors

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Type: Journal Article

Serial number: 2910