Many female reproductive disorders observed during adulthood originate from the neonatal period, which is a critical stage toward the reproductive potency. Human and animal fertility are determined by the pool of primordial follicles that are established during fetal or neonatal life. The earliest stages of follicle development are under control of a variety of factors, including sex steroids. Neonatal period is a “critical developmental window” in which organisms are susceptible to the environmental chemicals that may affect the reproductive health. Endocrine active compounds (EACs) are found abundantly in the environment and interfere with sex steroids (predominantly androgens and estrogens) by either mimicking or blocking their functions. This review covers the current knowledge about the effects of selected EACs with androgenic (testosterone propionate), anti-androgenic (flutamide), estrogenic (diethylstilbestrol, bisphenol A, 4-tert-octylphenol, phtalates and genistein), anti-estrogenic (ICI 182,780 and parabens), or mixed activity (methoxychlor) on the ovary of neonates, focusing on their effects on the early stages of folliculogenesis. These chemicals have been shown to affect oocyte survival, follicle formation, and growth, as well as steroidogenic functions. The better cognition of mechanisms underlying the long-term consequences of the neonatal EACs exposure may in future lead to an understanding of human health risks and developing prevention strategies.
Part of the book: Selected Topics in Neonatal Care