Étude de la toxicité de produits chimiques environnementaux et médicaux sur le développement périnatal du testicule


Géraldine Delbes

Institut national de la recherche scientifique [INRS]


Domaine : santé de la mère, des enfants et des adolescents

Programme Chercheurs-boursiers - Junior 2

Concours 2018-2019

Sperm production depends on the setting up of the germline during perinatal development. Indeed, germ cells arise in the embryo where they go through stages of migration, proliferation and differentiation. This is necessary for the establishment of the germline stem cells that are essential for the continuous generation of spermatozoa in adulthood. The perinatal period is therefore crucial for the future fertility of any individual. But scientific data accumulate, demonstrating an adverse effect of early exposure to environmental and medical substances on reproductive function in humans. We seek to understand how environmental and therapeutic chemicals, relevant to human exposure during perinatal life, affect the development of the male germline.  Using cell lines and in vivo exposure models in rodents, we are studying how endocrine disruptors can affect testicular development.

A special focus is placed on gene expression regulation which may influence germ cells proliferation and differentiation. On the other hand, we analyze how the chemotherapy agents used against cancer in children can affect germ cells in the prepubertal testis. Systematic analyzes of toxicity on a rat spermatogonia cell line will allow targeting further studies on human spermatogonial stem cells, which are rare. We also propose to evaluate the potential of genetic markers in order to predict the long-term effects on fertility. In a context where male fertility is declining globally, this work will help better understand the link between early exposure to chemical and impaired adult fertility. This research program will enable the development of early prevention strategies and improve treatment for male infertility.