Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDC’s) and the Environment

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INTRODUCTION The endocrine system of animals is a main source of bioregulatory compounds. Hormonal actions regulate all aspects of animal life: reproduction and development, digestion, metabolism, behavioural responses etc. (Hertenstein 2006, Norris 2007). Hormones and glands of vertebrate and invertebrate endocrine system differ in structure and function, but their main regulatory role remains conserved. However, the balance among the environmental clues, hormonal signals and organisms’ responses can be easily disturbed. One of the causes of this disturbance is the presence of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals (EDC’s) in the environment. EDC’s are primarily man-made pollutants, structurally resembling natural hormones (Jenssen 2006) and interfering with hormonal function in a variety of ways. Some act as hormone agonists, binding to the receptors and preventing endogenous hormones from binding. An example of agonistic EDC is diethylstilbestrol (DES), a synthetic estrogen (Newbold et al 2006). Antagonistic EDC’s, which include many herbicides, act as ligands, completely or partially inhibiting receptors (Lintelmann et al 2003). The third main group is responsible for altering the hormonal pathways and reducing the number of receptors (Depledge & Billinghurst 1999). Human activities releasing the most EDC’s into water, soil and air include metal and crude oil processing, plastic, pharmaceuticals and food manufacturing, and use of pesticides and fertilizers to increase agricultural productivity (Rhind 2009). A rapid increase in human population, expansion of human settlement and technological advances lead to a surge in environmental pollution and bioaccumulation of the pollutants in terrestrial and aquatic environments. Many EDC’s ... ... middle of paper ... ...ealth in Greenland: a review. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 54(Suppl.1):S15 Söffker M, Tyler CR (2012) Endocrine disrupting chemicals and sexual behaviors in fish – a critical review on effects and possible consequences. Critical Reviews in Toxicology 42(8), 653-668 Tavira-Mendoza L, Ruby S, Brousseau P, Fournier M, Cyr D, Marcogliese D (2002) Response of the amphibian tadpole (Xenopus laevis) to atrazine during sexual differentiation of the testis. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, vol.21, no.3, 527-531 Wu RSS (1999) Eutrophication, Water Borne Pathogens and Xenobiotic Compounds: Environmental Risks and Challenges. Marine Pollution Bulletin, vol.39, nos. 1-12, 11-22 Zhou J, Cai ZH, Zhu XS (2009) Are Endocrine Disruptors Among the Causes of the Deterioration of Aquatic Biodiversity? Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, Vol. 6, No. 3, 492–498

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