The plasticizer di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) exhibits antiandrogenic effects in perinatally exposed male rats. Di(2-ethylhexyl) adipate (DEHA) and diisononyl phthalate (DINP) are currently being evaluated as potential substitutes for DEHP, but similarities in structure and metabolism of DEHP with DEHA and DINP have led to the hypothesis that similarities inaction may also exist. Pregnant Wistar rats were gavaged during gestation and lactation with vehicle, DEHP (300 or 750 mg/kg bodyweight per day), DINP (750 mg/kg bodyweight per day), DEHP (750 mg/kg bodyweight per day) in combination with DEHA (400 mg/kg bodyweight per day), or DEHP (300 mg/kg bodyweight per day) in combination with DINP (750 mg/kg bodyweight per day). DINP and DEHP were both shown to reduce testicular testosterone production ex vivo and testosterone levels in testes and plasma of male fetuses at gestation day 2 1, indicating a similar mechanism of action for DINP and DEHP. Additionally, plasma LH levels in male fetuses were elevated. Neonatal anogenital distance was reduced and the number of nipples at postnatal day 13 increased in DEHP-exposed male offspring. Serum inhibin B levels were significantly reduced in DEHP-exposed prepubertal male offspring, and in a few adult males. No modulating effects of DEHA on the endocrine effects of DEHP were detected, but a tendency towards an accumulating effect of DEHP and DINP in combination on suppression of testosterone synthesis was seen. (C) 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.