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Relationship: 436


A descriptive phrase which clearly defines the two KEs being considered and the sequential relationship between them (i.e., which is upstream, and which is downstream). More help

Decrease, Steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (STAR) leads to Reduction, Cholesterol transport in mitochondria

Upstream event
The causing Key Event (KE) in a Key Event Relationship (KER). More help
Downstream event
The responding Key Event (KE) in a Key Event Relationship (KER). More help

Key Event Relationship Overview

The utility of AOPs for regulatory application is defined, to a large extent, by the confidence and precision with which they facilitate extrapolation of data measured at low levels of biological organisation to predicted outcomes at higher levels of organisation and the extent to which they can link biological effect measurements to their specific causes.Within the AOP framework, the predictive relationships that facilitate extrapolation are represented by the KERs. Consequently, the overall WoE for an AOP is a reflection in part, of the level of confidence in the underlying series of KERs it encompasses. Therefore, describing the KERs in an AOP involves assembling and organising the types of information and evidence that defines the scientific basis for inferring the probable change in, or state of, a downstream KE from the known or measured state of an upstream KE. More help

AOPs Referencing Relationship

AOP Name Adjacency Weight of Evidence Quantitative Understanding Point of Contact Author Status OECD Status
PPARα activation in utero leading to impaired fertility in males adjacent Moderate Elise Grignard (send email) Open for citation & comment EAGMST Under Review

Taxonomic Applicability

Latin or common names of a species or broader taxonomic grouping (e.g., class, order, family) that help to define the biological applicability domain of the KER.In general, this will be dictated by the more restrictive of the two KEs being linked together by the KER.  More help

Sex Applicability

An indication of the the relevant sex for this KER. More help

Life Stage Applicability

An indication of the the relevant life stage(s) for this KER.  More help

Key Event Relationship Description

Provides a concise overview of the information given below as well as addressing details that aren’t inherent in the description of the KEs themselves. More help

Steroidogenic acute regulatory protein (StAR) mediates the cholesterol transport from the outer to the inner mitochondrial membrane, where it undergoes side chain cleavage by cytochrome P-450 enzyme (P450scc) that yields the steroid precursor, pregnenolone (Besman et al. 1989). The cholesterol transfer within the mitochondria is the rate-limiting step in the production of steroid hormones. Therefore reduced amount/activity of the StAR impairs the cholesterol delivery that is necessary for the hormone biosynthesis.

Evidence Collection Strategy

Include a description of the approach for identification and assembly of the evidence base for the KER. For evidence identification, include, for example, a description of the sources and dates of information consulted including expert knowledge, databases searched and associated search terms/strings.  Include also a description of study screening criteria and methodology, study quality assessment considerations, the data extraction strategy and links to any repositories/databases of relevant references.Tabular summaries and links to relevant supporting documentation are encouraged, wherever possible. More help

Evidence Supporting this KER

Addresses the scientific evidence supporting KERs in an AOP setting the stage for overall assessment of the AOP. More help
Biological Plausibility
Addresses the biological rationale for a connection between KEupstream and KEdownstream.  This field can also incorporate additional mechanistic details that help inform the relationship between KEs, this is useful when it is not practical/pragmatic to represent these details as separate KEs due to the difficulty or relative infrequency with which it is likely to be measured.   More help

The first step in steroidogenesis takes place within mitochondria. StAR facilitates the movement of cholesterol from the outer mitochondrial membrane (OMM) to the inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM) for steroidogenesis [reviewed in (Miller and Auchus 2011)]. It is primarily present in steroid-producing cells, including theca cells and luteal cells in the ovary, Leydig cells in the testis and cells in the adrenal cortex.

Uncertainties and Inconsistencies
Addresses inconsistencies or uncertainties in the relationship including the identification of experimental details that may explain apparent deviations from the expected patterns of concordance. More help

Some steroidogenesis is independent of StAR; when nonsteroidogenic cells are transfected with the P450scc system, they convert cholesterol to pregnenolone at about 14% of the StAR-induced rate (Lin et al. 1995). The mechanism of StAR-independent steroidogenesis is unclear (Miller and Auchus 2011). Johnson et al proposed the involvment of sterol regulatory element–binding protein (SREBP) in phthalate mediated disruption of steroidogenesis. Their study showed lipid metabolism pathways transcriptionally regulated by SREBP were inhibited in the rat but induced in the mouse, and this differential species response corresponded with repression of the steroidogenic pathway. In rats exposed to 100 or 500 mg/kg DBP from gestational days (GD) 16 to 20, a correlation was observed between GD20 testis steroidogenic inhibition and reductions of testis cholesterol synthesis endpoints including testis total cholesterol levels (Johnson et al. 2011).

Known modulating factors

This table captures specific information on the MF, its properties, how it affects the KER and respective references.1.) What is the modulating factor? Name the factor for which solid evidence exists that it influences this KER. Examples: age, sex, genotype, diet 2.) Details of this modulating factor. Specify which features of this MF are relevant for this KER. Examples: a specific age range or a specific biological age (defined by...); a specific gene mutation or variant, a specific nutrient (deficit or surplus); a sex-specific homone; a certain threshold value (e.g. serum levels of a chemical above...) 3.) Description of how this modulating factor affects this KER. Describe the provable modification of the KER (also quantitatively, if known). Examples: increase or decrease of the magnitude of effect (by a factor of...); change of the time-course of the effect (onset delay by...); alteration of the probability of the effect; increase or decrease of the sensitivity of the downstream effect (by a factor of...) 4.) Provision of supporting scientific evidence for an effect of this MF on this KER. Give a list of references.  More help
Response-response Relationship
Provides sources of data that define the response-response relationships between the KEs.  More help
Information regarding the approximate time-scale of the changes in KEdownstream relative to changes in KEupstream (i.e., do effects on KEdownstream lag those on KEupstream by seconds, minutes, hours, or days?). More help
Known Feedforward/Feedback loops influencing this KER
Define whether there are known positive or negative feedback mechanisms involved and what is understood about their time-course and homeostatic limits. More help

Domain of Applicability

A free-text section of the KER description that the developers can use to explain their rationale for the taxonomic, life stage, or sex applicability structured terms. More help

Rat see Table 1.


List of the literature that was cited for this KER description. More help

Barlow, Norman J, Suzanne L Phillips, Duncan G Wallace, Madhabananda Sar, Kevin W Gaido, and Paul M D Foster. 2003. “Quantitative Changes in Gene Expression in Fetal Rat Testes Following Exposure to Di(n-Butyl) Phthalate.” Toxicological Sciences : An Official Journal of the Society of Toxicology 73 (2) (June): 431–41. doi:10.1093/toxsci/kfg087.

Besman, M J, K Yanagibashi, T D Lee, M Kawamura, P F Hall, and J E Shively. 1989. “Identification of Des-(Gly-Ile)-Endozepine as an Effector of Corticotropin-Dependent Adrenal Steroidogenesis: Stimulation of Cholesterol Delivery Is Mediated by the Peripheral Benzodiazepine Receptor.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 86 (13) (July): 4897–901.

Borch, Julie, Stine Broeng Metzdorff, Anne Marie Vinggaard, Leon Brokken, and Majken Dalgaard. 2006. “Mechanisms Underlying the Anti-Androgenic Effects of Diethylhexyl Phthalate in Fetal Rat Testis.” Toxicology 223 (1-2) (June 1): 144–55. doi:10.1016/j.tox.2006.03.015.

Johnson, Kamin J, Erin N McDowell, Megan P Viereck, and Jessie Q Xia. 2011. “Species-Specific Dibutyl Phthalate Fetal Testis Endocrine Disruption Correlates with Inhibition of SREBP2-Dependent Gene Expression Pathways.” Toxicological Sciences : An Official Journal of the Society of Toxicology 120 (2) (April): 460–74. doi:10.1093/toxsci/kfr020.

Lin, D, T Sugawara, J F Strauss, B J Clark, D M Stocco, P Saenger, A Rogol, and W L Miller. 1995. “Role of Steroidogenic Acute Regulatory Protein in Adrenal and Gonadal Steroidogenesis.” Science (New York, N.Y.) 267 (5205) (March 24): 1828–31.

Miller, Walter L, and Richard J Auchus. 2011. “The Molecular Biology, Biochemistry, and Physiology of Human Steroidogenesis and Its Disorders.” Endocrine Reviews 32 (1) (February): 81–151. doi:10.1210/er.2010-0013.

Shultz, V. D. 2001. “Altered Gene Profiles in Fetal Rat Testes after in Utero Exposure to Di(n-Butyl) Phthalate.” Toxicological Sciences 64 (2) (December 1): 233–242. doi:10.1093/toxsci/64.2.233.

Svechnikov, Konstantin, Irina Svechnikova, and Olle Söder. 2008. “Inhibitory Effects of Mono-Ethylhexyl Phthalate on Steroidogenesis in Immature and Adult Rat Leydig Cells in Vitro.” Reproductive Toxicology (Elmsford, N.Y.) 25 (4) (August): 485–90. doi:10.1016/j.reprotox.2008.05.057.

Thompson, Christopher J, Susan M Ross, and Kevin W Gaido. 2004. “Di(n-Butyl) Phthalate Impairs Cholesterol Transport and Steroidogenesis in the Fetal Rat Testis through a Rapid and Reversible Mechanism.” Endocrinology 145 (3) (March): 1227–37. doi:10.1210/en.2003-1475.

Thompson, Christopher J, Susan M Ross, Janan Hensley, Kejun Liu, Susanna C Heinze, S Stanley Young, and Kevin W Gaido. 2005. “Differential Steroidogenic Gene Expression in the Fetal Adrenal Gland versus the Testis and Rapid and Dynamic Response of the Fetal Testis to Di(n-Butyl) Phthalate.” Biology of Reproduction 73 (5) (November): 908–17. doi:10.1095/biolreprod.105.042382.