The Effect of Pyrethroid Compounds on the Expression of Estrogen Receptors in Mouse Sertoli Cells and Implications for Male Infertility
Thesis DisciplineCellular and Molecular Biology
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
Male fertility is largely controlled by the hypothalamic-pituitary axis, a careful balance between stimulating and suppressing gene expression and the secretion of hormones. The critical factors for male fertility have in the past been thought to be limited to testosterone and the gonadotropins. Estrogen has only recently been demonstrated to be both a crucial requirement for fertility and a cause of infertility. Reports in the early 1990s demonstrated a decrease in mean sperm counts over the last 50 years. A hypothesis for this observation is the increase of xenoestrogens in the environment that are able to mimic and potential disrupt the natural estrogens involvement in fertility. Although the mechanisms of estrogens involvement are not yet defined, the Sertoli cells are a potential sites of action as they possess receptors for the hormone and are able to locally produce it. Sertoli cells both act to protect and provide for the male germ cells and the developing spermatozoa. Pyrethroids are common synthetic insecticides of which some have previously shown estrogenic activity. Therefore this investigation examined the effects of pyrethoids, whose estrogenicity was confirmed via the yeast assay, on the estrogen receptor expression in mouse Sertoli cells as a model for general effects of estrogenic chemicals on male fertility. The results first confirmed the estrogenicity of some pyrethroids and these pyrethroids when exposed to mouse Sertoli cells effected estrogen receptor mRNA expression however in a different way to the natural ligand 17β-estradiol.