The in vivo chronic and in vitro acute effects of di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) on the reproductive function of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARG) were studied in rabbit corpora lutea (CL) at early stage (Day 4), midstage (Day 9), and late stage (Day 13) of pseudopregnancy. The rabbits were in vivo treated with DEHP for 15 days before induction of pseudopregnancy. Immunohistochemistry provided evidence for the presence of PPARG, prostaglandin endoperoxide synthase 1 (PTGS1), PTGS2, prostaglandin E2-9-ketoreductase (PGE2-9-K), and 3beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (3beta-HSD) in all the luteal cells during pseudopregnancy. DEHP decreased progesterone plasma levels and CL production in all the luteal stages and PPARG protein and gene expressions in early and mid-CL. DEHP in vivo treatment reduced PTGS2 protein expression at the late stage and that of PGE2-9-K at all the stages, whereas PTGS1 and 3beta-HSD were not affected. In in vitro cultured CL, DEHP alone, the PPARG antagonist T0070907 alone, or DEHP plus T0070907 diminished progesterone production and 3beta-HSD activity and increased PGF2alpha and PTGS2 in early and mid-CL, whereas DEHP plus the PPARG agonist 15d-PGJ2 did not affect these hormones and enzymes. All the in vitro treatments did not affect PGE2 secretion as well as PTGS1 and PGE2-9-K enzymatic activities in all the luteal stages. These results provided evidence that DEHP favors functional luteolysis of pseudopregnant rabbit CL, with a mechanism that seems to involve PPARG expression down-regulation, an increase of PTGS2 activity and prostaglandin F2alpha secretion, 3beta-HSD down-regulation, and decrease in progesterone.
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