Background: Ground corncob animal bedding and corn food products contain substances that disrupt endocrine function in rats. The disruptors were identified as isomeric mixtures of tetrahydrofurandiols (THF-diols; 9,12,oxy-10,13-dihydroxyoctadecanoic acid and 10,13-oxy,9,12-dihydroxyoctadecanoic acid) and leukotoxindiols (LTX-diols; 9,10-dihydroxy-12-octadecenoic acid and 12,13-dihydroxy-9-octadecenoic acid). The authentic compounds blocked sexual behavior in male rats and estrous cyclicity in female rats at oral doses of 2 ppm. Objectives: To define the lowest observed adverse effect level (LOAEL) for the THF-diols and LTX-diols, in rats, we examined the nature of their interaction (additive or synergistic) and quantified the concentration of THF-diols in rat tissues. Methods: Adult male and female rats were provided drinking solutions containing various doses of THF-diols and/or LTX-diols, and we evaluated their effects on male sexual behavior and female estrous cyclicity. Tissues were collected for THF-diol determination by gas chromatograph-mass spectrometry. Results: The LOAEL for THF-diols and LTX-diols for blocking estrous cyclicity was 0.5-1.0 ppm and 0.2-0.5 ppm, respectively. Higher concentrations (1-2 ppm) of THF-diols were required to block male sexual behavior, Combination studies with subthreshold doses of 0.05 ppm, THF-diols plus 0.05 ppm LTX-diols revealed that their effects on estrous cyclicity were not synergistic. We were unable to detect THF-diols in tissues from rats treated with 10 ppm of the compounds, suggesting that metabolism may be involved. Discussion: THF-diols, LTX-diols, and/or their metabolites likely act additively to disrupt endocrine function in male and female rats at concentrations (0.5-1 ppm) that are 200-fold lower than those of classical phytoestrogen endocrine disruptors.
- Corncob bedding
- Endocrine disruptors