Open Access

The role of retinoic acid receptors and their cognate ligands in reproduction in a context of triorganotin based endocrine disrupting chemicals


Retinoic acid (RA), an active form of vitamin A, regulates the embryonic development, male and female reproduction and induces important effects on the cell development, proliferation, and differentiation. These effects are mediated by the retinoid (RAR) and rexinoid nuclear receptors (RXR), which are considered to be a ligand-activated, DNA-binding, trans-acting, and transcription-modulating proteins, involved in a general molecular mechanism responsible for the transcriptional responses in target genes. Organotin compounds are typical environmental contaminants and suspected endocrine disrupting substances. They may affect processes of reproductive system in mammals, predominantly via nuclear receptor signaling pathways. Triorganotins, such as tributyltin chloride (TBTCl) and triphenyltin chloride (TPTCl), are capable to bind to RXR molecules, and thus represent potent agonists of RXR subtypes of nuclear receptors not sharing any structural characteristics with endogenous ligands of nuclear receptors. Th is article summarizes selected effects of biologically active retinoids and rexinoids on both male and female reproduction and also deals with the effects of organotin compounds evoking endocrine disrupting actions in reproduction.