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Effects of zearalenone and its derivatives on the synthesis and secretion of mammalian sex steroid hormones: A review

Zheng, Wanglong, Feng, Nannan, Wang, Yin, Noll, Lance, Xu, Shiwei, Liu, Xuming, Lu, Nanyan, Zou, Hui, Gu, Jianhong, Yuan, Yan, Liu, Xuezhong, Zhu, Guoqiang, Bian, Jianchun, Bai, Jianfa, Liu, Zongping
Food and chemical toxicology 2019 v.126 pp. 262-276
Fusarium, Leydig cells, apoptosis, autophagy, cell cycle checkpoints, endoplasmic reticulum, enzymes, estradiol, follicle-stimulating hormone, fungi, granulosa cells, humans, luteinizing hormone, mitochondria, oxidative stress, pituitary gland, plants (botany), progesterone, secretion, steroid hormones, testosterone, zearalenone
Zearalenone (ZEA), a non-steroidal estrogen mycotoxin produced by several species of Fusarium fungi, can be metabolized into many other derivatives by microorganisms, plants, animals and humans. It can affect mammalian reproductive capability by impacting the synthesis and secretion of sex hormones, including testosterone, estradiol and progesterone. This review summarizes the mechanisms in which ZEA and its derivatives disturb the synthesis and secretion of sex steroid hormones. Because of its structural analogy to estrogen, ZEA and its derivatives can exert a variety of estrogen-like effects and engage in estrogen negative feedback regulation, which can result in mediating the production of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) in the pituitary gland. ZEA and its derivatives can ultimately reduce the number of Leydig cells and granulosa cells by inducing oxidative stress, endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, cell cycle arrest, cell apoptosis, and cell regeneration delay. Additionally, they can disrupt the mitochondrial structure and influence mitochondrial functions through overproduction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and aberrant autophagy signaling ways. Finally, ZEA and its derivatives can disturb the expressions and activities of the related steroidogenic enzymes through cross talking between membrane and nuclear estrogen receptors.