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Concept: Endocrine disruptor

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BACKGROUND: Endocrine disrupting chemicals and carcinogens, some of which may not yet have been classified as such, are present in many occupational environments and could increase breast cancer risk. Prior research has identified associations with breast cancer and work in agricultural and industrial settings. The purpose of this study was to further characterize possible links between breast cancer risk and occupation, particularly in farming and manufacturing, as well as to examine the impacts of early agricultural exposures, and exposure effects that are specific to the endocrine receptor status of tumours. METHODS: 1006 breast cancer cases referred by a regional cancer center and 1146 randomly-selected community controls provided detailed data including occupational and reproductive histories. All reported jobs were industry- and occupation-coded for the construction of cumulative exposure metrics representing likely exposure to carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. In a frequency-matched case–control design, exposure effects were estimated using conditional logistic regression. RESULTS: Across all sectors, women in jobs with potentially high exposures to carcinogens and endocrine disruptors had elevated breast cancer risk (OR = 1.42; 95% CI, 1.18-1.73, for 10 years exposure duration). Specific sectors with elevated risk included: agriculture (OR = 1.36; 95% CI, 1.01-1.82); bars-gambling (OR = 2.28; 95% CI, 0.94-5.53); automotive plastics manufacturing (OR = 2.68; 95% CI, 1.47-4.88), food canning (OR = 2.35; 95% CI, 1.00-5.53), and metalworking (OR = 1.73; 95% CI, 1.02-2.92). Estrogen receptor status of tumors with elevated risk differed by occupational grouping. Premenopausal breast cancer risk was highest for automotive plastics (OR = 4.76; 95% CI, 1.58-14.4) and food canning (OR = 5.70; 95% CI, 1.03-31.5). CONCLUSIONS: These observations support hypotheses linking breast cancer risk and exposures likely to include carcinogens and endocrine disruptors, and demonstrate the value of detailed work histories in environmental and occupational epidemiology.

Concepts: Cancer, Breast cancer, Oncology, Estrogen, Endocrinology, Estrogen receptor, Endocrine system, Endocrine disruptor

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The environmental obesogen hypothesis proposes that exposure to endocrine disruptors during developmental ‘window’ contributes to adipogenesis and the development of obesity. MEHP [mono-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate], a metabolite of the widespread plasticizer DEHP [di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate], has been found in exposed organisms and identified as a selective PPARγ (peroxisome-proliferator-activated receptor γ) modulator. However, implication of MEHP on adipose tissue development has been poorly investigated. In the present study, we show the dose-dependent effects of MEHP on adipocyte differentiation and GPDH (glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase) activity in the murine 3T3-L1 cell model. MEHP induced the expression of PPARγ as well as its target genes required for adipogenesis in vitro. Moreover, MEHP perturbed key regulators of adipogenesis and lipogenic pathway in vivo. In utero exposure to a low dose of MEHP significantly increased b.w. (body weight) and fat pad weight in male offspring at PND (postnatal day) 60. In addition, serum cholesterol, TAG (triacylglycerol) and glucose levels were also significantly elevated. These results suggest that perinatal exposure to MEHP may be expected to increase the incidence of obesity in a sex-dependent manner and can act as a potential chemical stressor for obesity and obesity-related disorders.

Concepts: Nutrition, Developmental biology, Obesity, Fat, Adipose tissue, Endocrine disruptor, Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, Glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase

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Breast cancer incidence continues to increase in the US and Europe, a reflection of the growing influence of environment factors that interact with personal genetics. The US Environmental Protection Agency estimates that over 85,000 endocrine disrupting chemicals are among the common daily exposures that could affect the risk of disease. The daunting tasks of identifying, characterizing, and elucidating the mechanisms of endocrine disrupting chemicals in breast cancer need to be addressed to produce a comprehensive model that will facilitate preventive strategies and public policy. An expert panel met to describe and bring attention to needs linking common environmental exposures, critical windows of exposure, and optimal times of assessment in investigating breast cancer risk. The group included investigators with extensive experience in the use of rodent models and in leading population studies and produced a set of recommendations for effective approaches to gaining insights into the environmental origins of breast cancer across the lifespan.

Concepts: Cancer, Breast cancer, Metastasis, Pleural effusion, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Endocrine disruptor, Environmentalism

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Bisphenol A (BPA), a ubiquitous endocrine disruptor that is present in many household products, has been linked to obesity, cancer, and, most relevant here, childhood neurological disorders such as anxiety and hyperactivity. However, how BPA exposure translates into these neurodevelopmental disorders remains poorly understood. Here, we used zebrafish to link BPA mechanistically to disease etiology. Strikingly, treatment of embryonic zebrafish with very low-dose BPA (0.0068 μM, 1,000-fold lower than the accepted human daily exposure) and bisphenol S (BPS), a common analog used in BPA-free products, resulted in 180% and 240% increases, respectively, in neuronal birth (neurogenesis) within the hypothalamus, a highly conserved brain region involved in hyperactivity. Furthermore, restricted BPA/BPS exposure specifically during the neurogenic window caused later hyperactive behaviors in zebrafish larvae. Unexpectedly, we show that BPA-mediated precocious neurogenesis and the concomitant behavioral phenotype were not dependent on predicted estrogen receptors but relied on androgen receptor-mediated up-regulation of aromatase. Although human epidemiological results are still emerging, an association between high maternal urinary BPA during gestation and hyperactivity and other behavioral disturbances in the child has been suggested. Our studies here provide mechanistic support that the neurogenic period indeed may be a window of vulnerability and uncovers previously unexplored avenues of research into how endocrine disruptors might perturb early brain development. Furthermore, our results show that BPA-free products are not necessarily safer and support the removal of all bisphenols from consumer merchandise.

Concepts: Central nervous system, Nervous system, Psychology, Estrogen, Bisphenol A, Endocrine system, Endocrine disruptor, Neural development

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Personal care products are a source of exposure to potentially endocrine disrupting chemicals such as phthalates, parabens, triclosan, and benzophenone-3 (BP-3) for adolescent girls.

Concepts: Xenoestrogen, Cosmetics, Phenols, Endocrine disruptor, Personal care, Paraben, Phenol, Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate

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The major pesticides of the world are glyphosate-based herbicides (GBH), and their toxicity is highly debated. To understand their mode of action, the comparative herbicidal and toxicological effects of glyphosate (G) alone and 14 of its formulations were studied in this work, as a model for pesticides. GBH are mixtures of water, with commonly 36-48% G claimed as the active principle. As with other pesticides, 10-20% of GBH consist of chemical formulants. We previously identified these by mass spectrometry and found them to be mainly families of petroleum-based oxidized molecules, such as POEA, and other contaminants. We exposed plants and human cells to the components of formulations, both mixed and separately, and measured toxicity and human cellular endocrine disruption below the direct toxicity experimentally measured threshold. G was only slightly toxic on plants at the recommended dilutions in agriculture, in contrast with the general belief. In the short term, the strong herbicidal and toxic properties of its formulations were exerted by the POEA formulant family alone. The toxic effects and endocrine disrupting properties of the formulations were mostly due to the formulants and not to G. In this work, we also identified by mass spectrometry the heavy metals arsenic, chromium, cobalt, lead and nickel, which are known to be toxic and endocrine disruptors, as contaminants in 22 pesticides, including 11 G-based ones. This could also explain some of the adverse effects of the pesticides. In in vivo chronic regulatory experiments that are used to establish the acceptable daily intakes of pesticides, G or other declared active ingredients in pesticides are assessed alone, without the formulants. Considering these new data, this assessment method appears insufficient to ensure safety. These results, taken together, shed a new light on the toxicity of these major herbicides and of pesticides in general.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Chemistry, Toxicology, Toxicity, Poison, Endocrine disruptor, Biological activity, Heavy metal music

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Persistent exposure to man-made endocrine disrupting chemicals during fetal endocrine development may lead to disruption of metabolic homeostasis contributing to childhood obesity. Limited cellular platforms exist to test endocrine disrupting chemical-induced developmental abnormalities in human endocrine tissues. Here we use an human-induced pluripotent stem cell-based platform to demonstrate adverse impacts of obesogenic endocrine disrupting chemicals in the developing endocrine system. We delineate the effects upon physiological low-dose exposure to ubiquitous endocrine disrupting chemicals including, perfluoro-octanoic acid, tributyltin, and butylhydroxytoluene, in endocrine-active human-induced pluripotent stem cell-derived foregut epithelial cells and hypothalamic neurons. Endocrine disrupting chemicals induce endoplasmic reticulum stress, perturb NF-κB, and p53 signaling, and diminish mitochondrial respiratory gene expression, spare respiratory capacity, and ATP levels. As a result, normal production and secretion of appetite control hormones, PYY, α-MSH, and CART, are hampered. Blocking NF-κB rescues endocrine disrupting chemical-induced aberrant mitochondrial phenotypes and endocrine dysregulation, but not ER-stress and p53-phosphorylation changes.Harmful chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system and hormone regulation have been associated with obesity. Here the authors apply a human pluripotent stem cell-based platform to study the effects of such compounds on developing gut endocrine and neuroendocrine systems.

Concepts: Cell, Metabolism, Developmental biology, Endoplasmic reticulum, Obesity, Endocrinology, Endocrine system, Endocrine disruptor

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The recent epidemics of metabolic diseases, obesity, type 2 diabetes(T2D), liver lipid disorders and metabolic syndrome have largely been attributed to genetic background and changes in diet, exercise and aging. However, there is now considerable evidence that other environmental factors may contribute to the rapid increase in the incidence of these metabolic diseases. This review will examine changes to the incidence of obesity, T2D and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), the contribution of genetics to these disorders and describe the role of the endocrine system in these metabolic disorders. It will then specifically focus on the role of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) in the etiology of obesity, T2D and NAFLD while finally integrating the information on EDCs on multiple metabolic disorders that could lead to metabolic syndrome. We will specifically examine evidence linking EDC exposures during critical periods of development with metabolic diseases that manifest later in life and across generations.

Concepts: Metabolism, Nutrition, Obesity, Metabolic syndrome, Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, Fatty liver, Endocrine system, Endocrine disruptor

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Bisphenol A (BPA) is an endocrine disrupting environmental contaminant used in a wide variety of products, and BPA metabolites are found in almost everyone’s urine, suggesting widespread exposure from multiple sources. Regulatory agencies estimate that virtually all BPA exposure is from food and beverage packaging. However, free BPA is applied to the outer layer of thermal receipt paper present in very high (∼20 mg BPA/g paper) quantities as a print developer. Not taken into account when considering thermal paper as a source of BPA exposure is that some commonly used hand sanitizers, as well as other skin care products, contain mixtures of dermal penetration enhancing chemicals that can increase by up to 100 fold the dermal absorption of lipophilic compounds such as BPA. We found that when men and women held thermal receipt paper immediately after using a hand sanitizer with penetration enhancing chemicals, significant free BPA was transferred to their hands and then to French fries that were eaten, and the combination of dermal and oral BPA absorption led to a rapid and dramatic average maximum increase (Cmax) in unconjugated (bioactive) BPA of ∼7 ng/mL in serum and ∼20 µg total BPA/g creatinine in urine within 90 min. The default method used by regulatory agencies to test for hazards posed by chemicals is intra-gastric gavage. For BPA this approach results in less than 1% of the administered dose being bioavailable in blood. It also ignores dermal absorption as well as sublingual absorption in the mouth that both bypass first-pass liver metabolism. The elevated levels of BPA that we observed due to holding thermal paper after using a product containing dermal penetration enhancing chemicals have been related to an increased risk for a wide range of developmental abnormalities as well as diseases in adults.

Concepts: Metabolism, Liver, Bisphenol A, Skin, Disinfectant, Endocrine disruptor, Hand sanitizer, Disinfectants

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A large variety of micro-organic (MO) compounds is used in huge quantities for a range of purposes (e.g. manufacturing, food production, healthcare) and is now being frequently detected in the aquatic environment. Interest in the occurrence of MO contaminants in the terrestrial and aquatic environments continues to grow, as well as in their environmental fate and potential toxicity. However, the contamination of groundwater resources by MOs has a limited evidence base compared to other freshwater resources. Of particular concern are newly ‘emerging contaminants’ such as pharmaceuticals and lifestyle compounds, particularly those with potential endocrine disrupting properties. While groundwater often has a high degree of protection from pollution due to physical, chemical and biological attenuation processes in the subsurface compared to surface aquatic environments, trace concentrations of a large range of compounds are still detected in groundwater and in some cases may persist for decades due to the long residence times of groundwater systems. This study provides the first national-scale assessment of micro-organic compounds in groundwater in England and Wales. A large set of monitoring data was analysed to determine the relative occurrence and detected concentrations of different groups of compounds and to determine relationships with land-use, aquifer type and groundwater vulnerability. MOs detected including emerging compounds such as caffeine, DEET, bisphenol A, anti-microbial agents and pharmaceuticals as well as a range of legacy contaminants including chlorinated solvents and THMs, petroleum hydrocarbons, pesticides and other industrial compounds. There are clear differences in MOs between land-use types, particularly for urban-industrial and natural land-use. Temporal trends of MO occurrence are assessed but establishing long-term trends is not yet possible.

Concepts: Environment, Water, Petroleum, Chemistry, Water pollution, England, Endocrine disruptor, Soil contamination