Perinatal Exposure to Low Levels of the Environmental Antiandrogen Vinclozolin Alters Sex-Differentiated Social Play and Sexual Behaviors in the Rat

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Environmental Health Perspectives


In this study we examined the effects of exposure to the antiandrogenic fungicide vinclozolin (Vz) on the development of two sex-differentiated behaviors that are organized by the perinatal actions of androgens. Pregnant Long-Evans rats were administered a daily oral dose of 0, 1.5, 3, 6, or 12 mg/kg Vz from the 14th day of gestation through postnatal day (PND)3. The social play behavior of juvenile offspring was examined on PND22 and again on PND34 during play sessions with a same-sex littermate. After they reached adulthood, the male offspring were examined with the ex copula penile reflex procedure to assess erectile function. Vz did not produce any gross maternal or neonatal toxicity, nor did it reduce the anogenital distance in male pups. We observed no effects of Vz on play behavior on PND22. However, the 12-mg/kg Vz dose significantly increased play behavior in the male offspring on PND34 compared with controls. The most dramatic increases were seen with the nape contact and pounce behavior components of play. The Vz effect was more pronounced in male than in female offspring. As adults, male offspring showed a significant reduction of erections at all dose levels during the ex copula penile reflex tests. The 12-mg/kg dose was also associated with an increase in seminal emissions. These effects demonstrate that perinatal Vz disrupts the development of androgen-mediated behavioral functions at exposure levels that do not produce obvious structural changes or weight reductions in androgensensitive reproductive organs.


† indicates Undergraduate Student

This document is currently not available here.