Increases in human male reproductive disorders (testicular cancer, cryptorchidism, hypospadias, and low sperm counts) might stem from increased exposure of the developing male to environmental estrogens. In the present study, we investigated the effects of octylphenol (OP), an estrogenic compound, exposure on the male reproductive system during the fetal period in which the development of reproductive organs and sexual differentiation occurs. Male rats were treated with OP in utero at doses of control (vehicle), 100 or 250 mg/kg/day. After birth, male rats were allowed to grow until adulthood, and then testes, epididymides, and prostate glands were investigated histopathologically. Sperm counts and percentage of abnormal sperm were determined. Seminiferous and epididymal round tubules were evaluated for tubule diameter, lumen diameter, and height of tubule epithelium. Treatment with OP caused abnormalities in the histology of the testis and epididymis and induced atrophy of prostate glands tubules. Although there were no differences in sperm counts among treatment groups, abnormal sperm percentages in the high dose group increased significantly. The results of this study demonstrate that maternally injected OP causes adverse effects on male reproductive tract at adulthood, especially on sperm structure. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.