Acta Vet. Brno 2023, 92: 61-68

The effect of conazoles on reproductive organs structure and function – a review

Milan Maretta1, Elena Marettová1, Jaroslav Legáth2

1University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy Košice, Department of Morphological Disciplines, Košice, Slovak Republic
2University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy Košice, Department of Toxicology and Pharmacology, Košice, Slovak Republic

Received October 26, 2021
Accepted December 13, 2022

Conazoles are azole antifungals used in agricultural and pharmaceutical products. Exposure to conazole fungicides leads to several toxic endpoints, including reproductive and endocrine. The results of animal experiments have shown that various conazole fungicides at high doses affect the structure and functions of reproductive organs. In males, adverse effects of conazole fungicides are manifested in the testes, prostate, sperm viability, fertility and sexual behaviour. Reduced testis weight, testis atrophy and reduced or absent sperm production were frequently observed. In female genitalia, structural changes in the ovaries and uterus have been observed. The extent of the changes depends on the dose and duration of treatment. Triazoles affected the expression of multiple genes involved in steroid hormone metabolism and modulate enzyme activity of multiple cytochrome P450 (CYP) and other metabolic enzymes in mammalian liver and other tissues. Conazole fungicides act as endocrine disruptors. Conazoles have been reported to reduce oestradiol and testosterone production and to increase progesterone concentration, indicating the inhibition of enzymes involved in the conversion of progesterone to testosterone. The reproductive effects are consistent with impairment of testosterone homeostasis. The disruption in steroid homeostasis is a common mode of action, leading to abnormal reproductive development and diminished reproductive function. At high doses, azole fungicides affect reproductive organs and fertility in several species.


This research was supported by the Referential Laboratory for Pesticides, University of Veterinary Medicine and Pharmacy, Košice.


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