Various adverse effects of endocrine disruptors on the reproductive organs of male animals have been reported. We found that UDP-glucuronosyltransferase (UGT) activities towards bisphenol A, testosterone and oestradiol were significantly decreased in liver microsomes prepared from adult male Wistar rats administered with the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A (1mg/2 days for 2 or 4 weeks). However, suppression of the transferase activities was not observed in female rats, even after bisphenol A treatment for 4 weeks. Diethylstilbestrol, which is well known as an endocrine disruptor, had the same effects, but p-cumylphenol had no effect on UGT activities towards sex hormones. Co-administration of an anti-oestrogen, tamoxifen, inhibited the suppression of the transferase activities by bisphenol A. Western blotting analysis showed that the amount of UGT2B1, an isoform of UGT which glucuronidates bisphenol A, was decreased in the rat liver microsomes by the treatment. Northern blotting analysis also indicated that UGT2B1 mRNA in the liver was decreased by bisphenol A treatment. The suppression of UGT activities, UGT2B1 protein and UGT2B1 mRNA expression did not occur in female rats. The results indicate that bisphenol A treatment reduces the mRNA expression of UGT2B1 and other UGT isoforms that mediate the glucuronidation of sex hormones in adult male rats, and this suggests that the endocrine balance may be disrupted by suppression of glucuronidation.

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