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Investigations of putative reproductive toxicity of low-dose exposures to flutamide in Wistar rats

Abstract

The current investigation examines whether the model anti-androgenic substance flutamide is capable of disrupting endocrine homeostasis at very low doses. The data generated clarify whether a non-monotonic dose–response relationship exists to enhance the current debate about the regulation of endocrine disruptors. Moreover, it is part of a series of investigations assessing the dose–response relationship of single and combined administration of anti-androgenic substances. A pre–postnatal in vivo study design was chosen, which was compliant with regulatory testing protocols. The test design was improved by additional endpoints addressing hormone levels, morphology, and histopathological examinations. Doses were chosen to represent a clear effect level (2.5 mg/kg bw/d), a low endocrine effect level (LOAEL, 0.25 mg/kg bw/d), a NOAEL for endocrine effects (0.025 mg/kg bw/d), a further dose at 0.0025 mg/kg bw/d flutamide, as well as an “ADI” (0.00025 mg/kg bw/d or 100-fold below the NOAEL) for the detection of a possible non-monotonic dose–response curve. Anti-androgenic changes were observable at LOAEL and the clear effect dose level but not at lower exposures. Nipple retention appeared to be the most sensitive measure of anti-androgenic effects, followed by age at sexual maturation, anogenital distance/anogenital index and male sex organ weights, as well as gross and histopathological findings. The results of all five doses indicate the absence of evidence for effects at very low dose levels. A non-monotonic dose–response relationship was not evident for the anti-androgenic drug flutamide.

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Correspondence to Bennard van Ravenzwaay.

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Fussell, K.C., Schneider, S., Buesen, R. et al. Investigations of putative reproductive toxicity of low-dose exposures to flutamide in Wistar rats. Arch Toxicol 89, 2385–2402 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00204-015-1622-6

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00204-015-1622-6

Keywords

  • Flutamide
  • Low dose
  • Non-monotonic dose response
  • Anti-androgenic
  • Endocrine disruptor