Flufenoxuron suppresses the proliferation of testicular cells by targeting mitochondria in mice


Flufenoxuron is a benzoylurea pesticide that is used to eradicate insects and acarids in the farmland. Even though it specifically works on target animals, the possibilities of its bioaccumulation and harmful effects on non-target animals cannot be denied. As the usage and application of pesticides increases, exposure to them also increases through ingestion of food residues, inhalation, or dermal contact. Pesticides could also be considered as endocrine disruptor chemicals; however, the reproductive toxicity and cellular mechanisms of flufenoxuron have not been identified. Our results indicate that flufenoxuron inhibits cellular proliferation and hampers calcium homeostasis, especially by targeting mitochondria. We also confirmed the induction of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and ER-mitochondrial contact signaling. Using pharmacological inhibitors, we also observed that the mitogen-activated protein kinase and Akt signaling pathways were upregulated by flufenoxuron. Further, by oral administration of flufenoxuron (100 mg/kg/bw) to C57BL/6 male mice, we observed transcriptional changes in the testis-related genes. Collectively, we demonstrated that flufenoxuron inhibits cell proliferation and alters gene expression in mouse testis cells and induces testicular dysfunction in mice. These results indicate that flufenoxuron may be harmful to male reproduction and fertility in the early stages of pregnancy.

Authors: Jiyeon Ham, Whasun Lim, Gwonhwa Song
; Full Source: Pesticide biochemistry and physiology 2021 Mar;173:104773. doi: 10.1016/j.pestbp.2021.104773.