Synthetic phenolic antioxidant propyl gallate induces male infertility through disruption of calcium homeostasis and mitochondrial function

Jiyeon Ham, Whasun Lim, Sunwoo Park, Hyocheol Bae, Seungkwon You, Gwonhwa Song

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Propyl gallate (propyl 3,4,5-trihydroxybenzoate, PG) is a phenolic antioxidant that has been used for oil-containing foods to prevent acidification. Owing to its antioxidant properties, PG has been applied to various fields and active research is currently underway to prove PG as an anticancer agent. However, there are still concerns about PG as a possible reproductive toxicant. Therefore, we determined whether PG induced male infertility. Our results indicated that PG induced testicular dysfunction in both Leydig and Sertoli cells via suppression of cell viability and steroidogenesis. These normal testis functions were destroyed by PG-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and calcium homeostasis dysregulation. In addition, PG disrupted the expression of several genes associated with the testis function and induced endoplasmic reticulum stress. Furthermore, we verified PG-induced mRNA expression changes in steroidogenesis enzymes and hormone receptors in vitro and in vivo. From the results of the qPCR analysis, we further confirmed the PG-mediated reduction in the mRNA expression of genes related to testis functions by in situ hybridization. Finally, we demonstrated that PG induced testicular toxicity via the disruption of mitochondrial or ER function and the inhibition of testicular development-related genes in mice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)845-856
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Pollution
Publication statusPublished - 2019 May

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by a grant of the Korea Health Technology R&D Project through the Korea Health Industry Development Institute funded by the Ministry of Health & Welfare (grant number: HI17C0929 ) and the National Research Foundation of Korea grant funded by the Ministry of Science and ICT(MSIT) (No. 2018R1C1B6009048 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier Ltd


  • Apoptosis
  • Calcium
  • Infertility
  • Mitochondria
  • Propyl gallate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Pollution
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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