Excess Prenatal Testosterone Negatively Impacts Males

September 30, 2008

Excess testosterone exposure during pregnancy reduces the reproductive health of male offspring in sheep, according to a report first released online July 31, in advance of publication in an upcoming issue of Endocrinology.

TUESDAY, Sept. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Excess testosterone exposure during pregnancy reduces the reproductive health of male offspring in sheep, according to a report first released online July 31, in advance of publication in an upcoming issue of Endocrinology.

Sergio E. Recabarren, Ph.D., from the University of Concepcion in Chillan, Chile, and colleagues injected 20 pregnant sheep with 30-mg testosterone propionate twice a week from days 30-90 of pregnancy and with 40-mg testosterone propionate from days 90-120 of pregnancy. An identical number of pregnant sheep were injected with vehicle and served as controls.

The researchers found that males born to mothers treated with testosterone had significantly reduced body weight, scrotal circumference, sperm count and mean straight-line sperm velocity. Both groups were similar in their Leydig cell responsiveness, as determined by circulating testosterone levels in response to human chorionic gonadotropin.

"These findings demonstrate that exposure to excess testosterone during fetal development has a negative impact on reproductive health of the male offspring raising concerns relative to unintended human exposure to steroidal mimics in the environment," Recabarren and colleagues conclude.

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