Estrogen effects on fetal and neonatal testicular development.

  • Date de publication : 2006-09-29


Delbès G, Levacher C, Habert R. Estrogen effects on fetal and neonatal testicular development. Reproduction. 2006;132:527-38. doi: 10.1530/rep.1.01231. PubMed PMID: 17008464.

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Mot(s) Clé(s)

androgens endocrine disruptors environmental pollution estrogen receptor alpha estrogen receptor beta estrogens female fetal development humans male spermatogenesis testis xenobiotics


In recent years, evidences have accumulated that exposure to environmental components with estrogenic activity causes reproductive disorders in human populations. Studies conducted over the past 50 years have clearly shown a continual decline in semen quality accompanied by an increase in male reproductive disorders during this period in industrial countries. As healthy gametes are a prerequisite for healthy children, such disorders are a significant problem not only for the current society, but also for future generations. These male reproductive disorders have been attributed to xenobiotics, and particularly to xenoestrogens, which have steadily increased in diversity and concentration in the environment and food. Epidemiological, clinical, and experimental studies have suggested that excessive exposure to estrogens and xenoestrogens during fetal and neonatal development may induce testicular developmental disorders, leading to alterations in the adult male fertility. Recently, we have clearly demonstrated that fetal and neonatal testes are very sensitive to estrogens, as the inactivation of estrogen receptor alpha increases steroidogenesis and the inactivation of estrogen receptor beta enhances development of the germ cell lineage in the male.