Abstract In the present study, we have investigated the effects of 30-day dietary (pre-pubertal) exposure to different doses (0 (control), 1, 10, 50, 200 and 400mg/kg bodyweight/day) of di(n-butyl) phthalate (DBP) on Leydig cells of adult male Japanese quails by quantifying the transcript levels for P450 side-chain cleavage (p450scc), P450c17 (CYP17), and 3β- and 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (hsd) using quantitative (real-time) polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). In addition, the plasma testosterone levels were analysed using radioimmunoassay (RIA) and testis was examined for evidence of gross pathology and histopathology. Our data showed that pre-pubertal exposure to DBP produced alterations in testicular architecture as evident by poorly developed or mis-shaped testis, and altered spermatogenesis due to tubular degeneration and atrophy of seminiferous tubules especially in the high DBP dose (200 and 400mg/kg) treated groups. In addition, DBP altered several key enzymes involved in testicular steroidogenesis pathways in an apparent dose-dependent manner. For example, biphasic effects of DBP were observed for P450scc and 3β-hsd mRNA, that were generally increasing at low dose 10mg/kg, and thereafter, an apparent dose-dependent decrease between 50 and 400mg/kg. The steroidogenic acute regulatory (StAR) protein was at the lowest detectable limits and therefore not quantifiable. These effects did not parallel the non-significant changes observed for plasma testosterone levels. The present data is consistent with previous reports showing that DBP modulates Leydig cell steroidogenesis in several species, with a potential negative effect on reproduction in those avian species that are vulnerable to endocrine disrupting chemicals.