We examined acute exposure of Holstein cows to di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) and its carryover effects on ovarian function and oocyte developmental competence. Synchronized cows were tube-fed with water or 100 mg/kg DEHP per day for 3 days. Blood, urine and milk samples were collected before, during and after DEHP exposure to examine its clearance pattern. Ovarian follicular dynamics was monitored through an entire estrous cycle by ultrasonographic scanning. Follicular fluids were aspirated from the preovulatory follicles on days 0 and 29 of the experiment and analyzed for phthalate metabolites and estradiol concentration. The aspirated follicular fluid was used as maturation medium for in-vitro embryo production. Findings revealed that DEHP impairs the pattern of follicular development, with a prominent effect on dominant follicles. The diameter and growth rate of the first- and second- wave dominant follicles were lower (P < 0.05) in the DEHP-treated group. Estradiol concentration in the follicular fluid was lower in the DEHP-treated group than in controls, and associated with a higher number of follicular pathologies (follicle diameter >25 mm). The pattern of growth and regression of the corpus luteum differed between groups, with a lower volume in the DEHP-treated group (P < 0.05). The follicular fluid aspirated from the DEHP-treated group, but not the controls, contained 23 nM mono(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate. Culturing of cumulus oocyte complexes in the follicular fluid aspirated from DEHP-treated cows reduced the proportion of oocytes progressing to the MII stage, and the proportions of 2- to 4-cell-stage embryos (P < 0.04) and 7-day blastocysts (P < 0.06). The results describe the risk associated with acute exposure to DEHP and its deleterious carryover effects on ovarian function, nuclear maturation and oocyte developmental competence.
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© 2015 Kalo et al.