News - Environmental plasticizers and maternal behavior

Phthalates are very common plasticizers in the environment. Known for their anti-androgenic effects in males, their impact on female reproduction has yet to be documented. Sakina Mhaouty-Kodja's team (NPS) examined the effects of chronic exposure to phthalates at environmental doses on the maternal behavior of lactating female mice after a first (primiparous) and a second pregnancy (multiparous). Chronic exposure to phthalates reduces maternal behavior, increases forced suckling, and impairs nest quality in primiparous and multiparous mothers.

These behavioral changes are associated with a decrease in the number of neurons expressing oxytocin (OT) or estrogen receptor alpha (ER?) in key regions in the expression of maternal behavior, such as the paraventricular nucleus and the medial preoptic region. . In this latter hypothalamic region, changes in structural plasticity are also observed.

Adam, N., Lachayze, M.-A., Parmentier, C., Hardin-Pouzet, H., & Mhaouty-Kodja, S. (2022). Exposure to environmentally relevant doses of plasticizers alters maternal behavior and related neuroendocrine processes in primiparous and multiparous female mice. Environmental Pollution, 315, 120487.