Hormonal profile changes induced by pesticide mixture exposure in female rats revealed by hair analysis

Feng Jiao Peng, Paul Palazzi, Catherine Viguié, Brice M.R. Appenzeller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Pesticide exposure has been associated with hormonal disruption in both animals and humans. However, there is limited knowledge of the combined effects of complex mixtures of pesticides on endogenous hormone levels. Here, we used hair analysis to assess the impact of a pesticide mixture comprising 19 components from multiple chemical classes at eight doses of 0–400 μg/kg body weight (bw) three times per week per component on concentrations of 36 steroid and thyroid hormones in female rats over a 90-day exposure period. We detected 13 hormones in rat hair, namely estradiol (E2), androstenedione (AD), testosterone (T), dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), dehydroepiandrosterone sulfate (DHEAS), pregnenolone (P5), progesterone (P4), 11-deoxycorticosterone (11-DOC), corticosterone (CORT), 3,3′-L-diiodothyronine (T2), 3,5,3′-L-triiodothyronine (T3), 3,3′,5′-L-triiodothyronine (rT3), and 3,5,3′,5′-L-tetraiodothyronine (T4). In comparison to the control group, hair E2 concentration was significantly lower in the two highest (200 and 400 μg/kg bw) exposure groups, whereas hair DHEAS and CORT concentrations were significantly higher in the 40 μg/kg bw and the highest exposure groups, respectively. Results from generalized additive models suggest that pesticide exposure resulted in monotonic dose responses in hair E2 concentration, CORT concentration and DHEA/CORT molar ratio but nonmonotonic dose responses in hair T concentration, DHEAS concentration, P4/P5 and DHEA/DHEAS molar ratios. The associations of E2, CORT and DHEA/CORT ratio with exposure intensity were confirmed by their significant linear relationships with hair concentrations of at least 23 of the 25 exposure biomarkers analyzed. Our results demonstrate that exposure to low levels of the pesticide mixture evaluated here can alter hair reproductive and adrenal hormones levels.

Original languageEnglish
Article number135059
Issue numberPt 2
Early online date26 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • Exposure
  • Hair analysis
  • Pesticide mixture
  • Rats
  • Steroid hormones
  • Thyroid hormones


Dive into the research topics of 'Hormonal profile changes induced by pesticide mixture exposure in female rats revealed by hair analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this