Azoles are effective antifungal agents used in both medicine and agriculture. They typically work by inhibiting cytochrome P450 enzymes, primarily CYP51 of the ergosterol biosynthesis pathway, thus damaging the fungal cell membrane. However, apart from their desired antifungal properties, several azoles also exhibit endocrine disrupting properties in mammals, both in vitro and in vivo. Here, we have tested two currently used agricultural azole fungicides, triticonazole and flusilazole, for their in vitro anti-androgenic activity and potential effects on reproductive parameters. Both fungicides showed strong androgen receptor (AR) antagonism and disruption of steroid biosynthesis in vitro. Following gestational exposure to flusilazole (15 or 45 mg/kg bw/day) or triticonazole (150 or 450 mg/kg bw/day) in time-mated Sprague Dawley rats, triticonazole induced shorter male anogenital distance (AGD). Flusilazole exposure did not affect the AGD, but altered fetal male blood hormone profile, with increased androstenedione and decreased estrone levels. Flusilazole and triticonazole have dissimilar effects on reproductive parameters in vivo, but both show endocrine disrupting activities.
- Endocrine disruptors
- Anogenital distance