In the current study, calbindin-D9k (CaBP-9k), a potent biomarker for screening estrogen-like environmental chemicals in vivo and in vitro, was adopted to examine the potential estrogen-like property of the following parabens: propyl-, isopropyl-, butyl-, and isobutyl-paraben. Immature female rats were administered for 3 days from postnatal day 14 to 16 with 17?-ethinylestradiol (EE, 1 mg/kg of body weight (BW) per day) or parabens (62.5, 250, and 1000 mg/kg of BW per day). In uterotrophic assays, significantly increased uterus weights were detected in the EE-treated group and in the groups treated with the greatest dose of isopropyl-, butyl- and isobutyl-paraben. In addition, these parabens induced uterine CaBP-9k mRNA and protein levels, whereas co-treatment of parabens and fulvestrant (Faslodex, formerly known as ICI 182, 780), a pure estrogen receptor (ER) antagonist, completely reversed the paraben-induced gene expression and increased uterine weights. To investigate the ER-mediated mechanism(s) by which parabens exert their effects, the expression level of ERÎ± and progesterone receptor (PR) was analyzed. Exposure to EE or parabens caused a dramatic decrease in expression of both ER? mRNA and protein levels, whereas co-treatment with fulvestrant reversed these effects. These data showed the difference of CaBP-9k and ER? expression, suggesting that CaBP-9k might not express via ER? pathway. In the effect of parabens on CaBP-9k expression through PR mediation, a significantly increased expression of uterine PR gene, a well-known ER regulating gene, at both transcriptional and translational levels was indicated in the greatest dose of isopropyl- and butyl-paraben. These parabens induced PR gene expression that was completely blocked by fulvestrant. This result indicates that CaBP-9k expression might involve PR mediates in the estrogenic effect of paraben in immature rat uteri. Taken together, parabens exhibited an estrogen-like property in vivo, which might be mediated by a PR and/or ER? signaling pathway. In addition, our results expanded the current understanding of the potential adverse effects of parabens associated with their estrogen-like activities. Further investigation is needed to elucidate in greater detail the adverse effects of parabens in humans and wildlife.