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Special Issue "Advances in the Research of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2.0"

A special issue of International Journal of Molecular Sciences (ISSN 1422-0067). This special issue belongs to the section "Molecular Toxicology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (29 February 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Maria Elisabeth Street

Guest Editor
Head Division of Paediatric Endocrinology and Diabetology, Dept of Paediatrics, IRCCS- Arcispedale S. Maria Nuova, Reggio Emilia, Italy
Interests: growth; puberty; IGF system; GH deficiency; inflammation; insulin- sensitivity; obesity; endocrine disruptors; CFTR; IUGR
Asst. Prof. Dr. Karine Audouze
Website
Guest Editor
Université de Paris, Inserm UMR S1124, 75006 Paris, France
Interests: health-environment interactions; integrative systems toxicology; bioinformatics; computational toxicology; network biology; omics studies; adverse outcome pathways; endocrine disruptors; metabolic disorders
Prof. Dr. Juliette Legler
Website
Guest Editor
1. Professor and Chair of Toxicology, Institute for Risk Assessment Sciences (IRAS), Utrecht University, Jeanette Donker-Voet Building, Yalelaan 104, room 1.059, 3584 CM UTRECHT, P.O. Box 80177, NL-3508 TD UTRECHT, The Netherlands
2. Honorary Professor of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Brunel University London
Interests: environmental and human toxicology; molecular and cell biology; epigenetics; developmental biology; bioassay development and validation; endocrine disruption; zebrafish; in vitro models; fetal origins of disease; obesity; risk assessment
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Paola Palanza

Guest Editor
Unit of Neuroscience, Department of Medicine and Surgery, University of Parma, Parma, Italy
Interests: Behavior; sex differences; development; hormones; endocrine disruptors; animal models; social stress; gene-environment interaction; maternal behavior; social behavior
Prof. Dr. Hideko Sone
Website SciProfiles
Co-Guest Editor
1 Yokohama University of Pharmacy, Environmental Health and Drug Department, 601 Matano-cho, Totsuka, Yokohama 2450066, Japan
2 Guest Researcher, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Center for Health and Environmental Risk Research, 16-2 Onogawa, Tsukuba, Ibraki 3058506, Japan
Interests: health and disease in humans and animals; risk assessment of cancer; reproduction; child development; objective methods for epidemiology; in vivo, in vitro and in silico; mechanism sciences; exposure sciences for food and drinking; use and application of stem cells in toxicology
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Knowledge is progressively building up related to the potential harm of chemical products to human health, and some agents have been shown to be able to alter endocrine functions, affecting the timing of puberty, fertility, adipose and glucose metabolism, thyroid function, and the control of appetite. Behavior and neurodevelopment are also affected. In order to proceed on the understanding and to be able to plan actions, the contribution of a multidisciplinary approach is of upmost importance.

This Special Issue will focus on basic knowledge, on animal and human studies, on clinical studies in humans, on epidemiological studies, and on studies focusing on how to further investigate the effects (ex. epigenetics, omics in general) in order to obtain a full picture. Innovations and plans are welcome. Original papers, reviews, commentaries, and papers focusing on methods and methodology are all also welcome.

Dr. Maria Elisabeth Street
Prof. Dr. Paola Palanza
Prof. Dr. Juliette Legler
Asst. Prof. Dr. Karine Audouze
Prof. Dr. Hideko Sone
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Molecular Sciences is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. There is an Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal. For details about the APC please see here. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • endocrine disruptors
  • epigenetics
  • chemicals
  • human health
  • omics
  • growth
  • puberty
  • metabolism
  • neurodeveloment
  • prevention
  • oncogenesis

Published Papers (22 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Interactive Effects of Perinatal BPA or DES and Adult Testosterone and Estradiol Exposure on Adult Urethral Obstruction and Bladder, Kidney, and Prostate Pathology in Male Mice
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(11), 3902; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21113902 - 30 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Obstructive voiding disorder (OVD) occurs during aging in men and is often, but not always, associated with increased prostate size, due to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostatitis, or prostate cancer. Estrogens are known to impact the development of both OVD and prostate diseases, [...] Read more.
Obstructive voiding disorder (OVD) occurs during aging in men and is often, but not always, associated with increased prostate size, due to benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH), prostatitis, or prostate cancer. Estrogens are known to impact the development of both OVD and prostate diseases, either during early urogenital tract development in fetal–neonatal life or later in adulthood. To examine the potential interaction between developmental and adult estrogen exposure on the adult urogenital tract, male CD-1 mice were perinatally exposed to bisphenol A (BPA), diethylstilbestrol (DES) as a positive control, or vehicle negative control, and in adulthood were treated for 4 months with Silastic capsules containing testosterone and estradiol (T+E2) or empty capsules. Animals exposed to BPA or DES during perinatal development were more likely than negative controls to have urine flow/kidney problems and enlarged bladders, as well as enlarged prostates. OVD in adult T+E2-treated perinatal BPA and DES animals was associated with dorsal prostate hyperplasia and prostatitis. The results demonstrate a relationship between elevated exogenous estrogen levels during urogenital system development and elevated estradiol in adulthood and OVD in male mice. These findings support the two-hit hypothesis for the development of OVD and prostate diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Research of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2.0)
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Open AccessArticle
Effects of Prenatal Exposure to a Low-Dose of Bisphenol A on Sex Differences in Emotional Behavior and Central Alpha2-Adrenergic Receptor Binding
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(9), 3269; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21093269 - 05 May 2020
Abstract
Prenatal exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) influences the development of sex differences neurologically and behaviorally across many species of vertebrates. These effects are a consequence of BPA’s estrogenic activity and its ability to act as an endocrine disrupter even, at very low doses. [...] Read more.
Prenatal exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) influences the development of sex differences neurologically and behaviorally across many species of vertebrates. These effects are a consequence of BPA’s estrogenic activity and its ability to act as an endocrine disrupter even, at very low doses. When exposure to BPA occurs during critical periods of development, it can interfere with the normal activity of sex steroids, impacting the fate of neurons, neural connectivity and the development of brain regions sensitive to steroid activity. Among the most sensitive behavioral targets of BPA action are behaviors that are characterized by a sexual dimorphism, especially emotion and anxiety related behaviors, such as the amount of time spent investigating a novel environment, locomotive activity and arousal. Moreover, in some species of rodents, BPA exposure affected males’ sexual behaviors. Interestingly, these behaviors are at least in part modulated by the catecholaminergic system, which has been reported to be a target of BPA action. In the present study we investigated the influence of prenatal exposure of mice to a very low single dose of BPA on emotional and sexual behaviors and on the density and binding characteristics of alpha2 adrenergic receptors. Alpha2 adrenergic receptors are widespread in the central nervous system and they can act as autoreceptors, inhibiting the release of noradrenaline and other neurotransmitters from presynaptic terminals. BPA exposure disrupted sex differences in behavioral responses to a novel environment, but did not affect male mice sexual behavior. Importantly, BPA exposure caused a change in the binding affinity of alpha2 adrenergic receptors in the locus coeruleus and medial preoptic area (mPOA) and it eliminated the sexual dimorphism in the density of the receptors in the mPOA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Research of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2.0)
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Open AccessArticle
Bisphenol A Exposure in utero Disrupts Hypothalamic Gene Expression Particularly Genes Suspected in Autism Spectrum Disorders and Neuron and Hormone Signaling
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(9), 3129; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21093129 - 29 Apr 2020
Abstract
Bisphenol A (BPA) is an endocrine-disrupting compound detected in the urine of more than 92% of humans, easily crosses the placental barrier, and has been shown to influence gene expression during fetal brain development. The purpose of this study was to investigate the [...] Read more.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is an endocrine-disrupting compound detected in the urine of more than 92% of humans, easily crosses the placental barrier, and has been shown to influence gene expression during fetal brain development. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of in utero BPA exposure on gene expression in the anterior hypothalamus, the basal nucleus of the stria terminalis (BNST), and hippocampus in C57BL/6 mice. Mice were exposed in utero to human-relevant doses of BPA, and then RNA sequencing was performed on male PND 28 tissue from whole hypothalamus (n = 3/group) that included the medial preoptic area (mPOA) and BNST to determine whether any genes were differentially expressed between BPA-exposed and control mice. A subset of genes was selected for further study using RT-qPCR on adult tissue from hippocampus to determine whether any differentially expressed genes (DEGs) persisted into adulthood. Two different RNA-Seq workflows indicated a total of 259 genes that were differentially expressed between BPA-exposed and control mice. Gene ontology analysis indicated that those DEGs were overrepresented in categories relating to mating, cell–cell signaling, behavior, neurodevelopment, neurogenesis, synapse formation, cognition, learning behaviors, hormone activity, and signaling receptor activity, among others. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis was used to interrogate novel gene networks and upstream regulators, indicating the top five upstream regulators as huntingtin, beta-estradiol, alpha-synuclein, Creb1, and estrogen receptor (ER)-alpha. In addition, 15 DE genes were identified that are suspected in autism spectrum disorders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Research of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2.0)
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Open AccessArticle
Sex-Dependent Effects of Developmental Lead Exposure in Wistar Rats: Evidence from Behavioral and Molecular Correlates
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(8), 2664; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21082664 - 11 Apr 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Lead (Pb) exposure in early life affects brain development resulting in cognitive and behavioral deficits. Epidemiologic and experimental evidence of sex as an effect modifier of developmental Pb exposure is emerging. In the present study, we investigated Pb effects on behavior and mechanisms [...] Read more.
Lead (Pb) exposure in early life affects brain development resulting in cognitive and behavioral deficits. Epidemiologic and experimental evidence of sex as an effect modifier of developmental Pb exposure is emerging. In the present study, we investigated Pb effects on behavior and mechanisms of neuroplasticity in the hippocampus and potential sex differences. To this aim, dams were exposed, from one month pre-mating to offspring weaning, to Pb via drinking water at 5 mg/kg body weight per day. In the offspring of both sexes, the longitudinal assessment of motor, emotional, and cognitive end points was performed. We also evaluated the expression and synaptic distribution of N-methyl-D-Aspartate receptor (NMDA) and α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid (AMPA) receptor subunits at post-natal day (pnd) 23 and 70 in the hippocampus. Neonatal motor patterns and explorative behavior in offspring were affected in both sexes. Pb effects in emotional response and memory retention were observed in adult females only, preceded by increased levels of GluN2A and GluA1 subunits at the post-synapse at pnd 23. These data suggest that Pb exposure during development affects glutamatergic receptors distribution at the post-synaptic spine in females. These effects may contribute to alterations in selected behavioral domains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Research of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2.0)
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Open AccessArticle
Developmental Exposure to the Flame Retardant Mixture Firemaster 550 Compromises Adult Bone Integrity in Male but not Female Rats
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(7), 2553; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21072553 - 07 Apr 2020
Abstract
Flame retardants (FRs) are used in a variety of common items from furniture to carpet to electronics to reduce flammability and combustion, but the potential toxicity of these compounds is raising health concerns globally. Organophosphate FRs (OPFRs) are becoming more prevalent as older, [...] Read more.
Flame retardants (FRs) are used in a variety of common items from furniture to carpet to electronics to reduce flammability and combustion, but the potential toxicity of these compounds is raising health concerns globally. Organophosphate FRs (OPFRs) are becoming more prevalent as older, brominated FRs are phased out, but the toxicity of these compounds, and the FR mixtures that contain them, is poorly understood. Work in a variety of in vitro model systems has suggested that FRs may induce metabolic reprogramming such that bone density is compromised at the expense of increasing adiposity. To address this hypothesis, the present studies maternally exposed Wistar rat dams orally across gestation and lactation to 1000 µg daily of the FR mixture Firemaster 550 (FM 550) which contains a mixture of brominated FRs and OPFRs. At six months of age, the offspring of both sexes were examined for evidence of compromised bone composition. Bone density, composition, and marrow were all significantly affected, but only in males. The fact that the phenotype was observed months after exposure suggests that FM 550 altered some fundamental aspect of mesenchymal stem cell reprogramming. The severity of the phenotype and the human-relevance of the dose employed, affirm this is an adverse outcome meriting further exploration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Research of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2.0)
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Open AccessArticle
Bisphenol S Impaired Human Granulosa Cell Steroidogenesis in Vitro
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(5), 1821; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21051821 - 06 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Bisphenol S (BPS) is a structural analog of the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A (BPA); it is the main BPA replacement in the plastics industry. Previous studies have shown that BPA and BPS exhibit similar effects on reproduction in fish and rodent species. BPS [...] Read more.
Bisphenol S (BPS) is a structural analog of the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A (BPA); it is the main BPA replacement in the plastics industry. Previous studies have shown that BPA and BPS exhibit similar effects on reproduction in fish and rodent species. BPS reportedly alters steroidogenesis in bovine granulosa cells. Luteinised granulosa cells collected from 59 women who were undergoing an in vitro fertilization procedure were cultured for 48 h in the presence or absence of BPS (10 nM, 100 nM, 1 µM, 10 µM or 50 µM). BPS exposure was investigated by assessing follicular fluids from these 59 women for their BPS content. Culture medium, cells, total messenger RNA (mRNA) and total protein extracted from the luteinised granulosa cells were examined for oestradiol and progesterone secretion, cellular proliferation, viability, gene expression, steroidogenic enzyme expression and cell signaling. BPS was measured in follicular fluids using mass spectrometry. Exposure of granulosa cells to 10 or 50 µM BPS for 48 h induced a 16% (p = 0.0059) and 64% (p < 0.0001) decrease, respectively, in progesterone secretion; 50 µM BPS decreased oestradiol secretion by 46% (p < 0.0001). Ten µM BPS also tended to reduce CYP11A1 protein expression by 37% (p = 0.0947) without affecting HSD3B1 and CYP19A1 expression. Fifty µM BPS increased ERRγ expression. Environmental levels of BPS (nanomolar range) did not induce changes in steroidogenesis in human granulosa cells. The effects of BPS were observed after only 48 h of BPS exposure. These acute effects might be similar to chronic effects of physiological BPS levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Research of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2.0)
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Open AccessArticle
Bisphenol S Impaired In Vitro Ovine Early Developmental Oocyte Competence
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(4), 1238; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21041238 - 12 Feb 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Introduction: Bisphenol A (BPA) is a widespread compound in the plastic industry that is especially used to produce baby bottles, food packaging and metal cans. BPA, an endocrine disruptor, leads to alterations in reproductive function and therefore has been banned from the food [...] Read more.
Introduction: Bisphenol A (BPA) is a widespread compound in the plastic industry that is especially used to produce baby bottles, food packaging and metal cans. BPA, an endocrine disruptor, leads to alterations in reproductive function and therefore has been banned from the food industry. Unregulated BPA analogues, particularly Bisphenol S (BPS), have emerged and are now used in the plastic industry. Thus, this study aimed to examine the acute effects of low and environmental doses of BPS on ewe oocyte quality and developmental competence, and its mechanism of action, during in vitro maturation. Methods: Ewe cumulus-oocyte complexes underwent in vitro maturation in the presence or absence of BPS (1 nM, 10 nM, 100 nM, 1 µM or 10 µM). Oocytes were then subjected to in vitro fertilisation and development. Results: 1 µM BPS induced a 12.7% decrease in the cleavage rate (p = 0.004) and a 42.6% decrease in the blastocyst rate (p = 0.017) compared to control. The blastocyst rate reduction was also observed with 10 nM BPS. Furthermore, 10 µM BPS reduced the oocyte maturation rate, and 1 µM BPS decreased cumulus cell progesterone secretion. PR and AMH gene expression were reduced in cumulus cells. BPS induced a 5-fold increase in MAPK 3/1 activation (p = 0.04). Conclusions: BPS impaired ewe oocyte developmental competence. The data suggest that BPS might not be a safe BPA analogue. Further studies are required to elucidate its detailed mechanism of action. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Research of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2.0)
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Open AccessArticle
Maternal Exposure to Bisphenol A Combined with High-Fat Diet-Induced Programmed Hypertension in Adult Male Rat Offspring: Effects of Resveratrol
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2019, 20(18), 4382; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms20184382 - 06 Sep 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Maternal exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and a high-fat intake may induce the developmental programming of hypertension in adult offspring. Bisphenol A (BPA) is one of the most commonly environmental EDCs. As the nitric oxide (NO) and aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) signaling [...] Read more.
Maternal exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and a high-fat intake may induce the developmental programming of hypertension in adult offspring. Bisphenol A (BPA) is one of the most commonly environmental EDCs. As the nitric oxide (NO) and aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) signaling pathways both contribute to the pathogenesis of hypertension, we evaluated whether resveratrol, an antioxidant and an AHR antagonist, can prevent hypertension programmed by a maternal BPA and HF diet. Sixteen-week-old male rat offspring were assigned to six groups (n = 8 per group): Control, HF (D12331, Research Diets), BPA (50 μg/kg/day), HF + BPA, BPA + R (resveratrol 50mg/L in drinking water throughout pregnancy and lactation), and HF + BPA + R. Maternal BPA exposure exacerbated hypertension programmed by HF consumption in adult male offspring, which was protected by maternal resveratrol therapy. The BPA and HF diet synergistically induced oxidative stress in offspring kidneys, which resveratrol treatment prevented. We observed that HF + BPA-induced programmed hypertension was associated with a decreased NO bioavailability, increased oxidative stress, and an activated AHR signaling pathway. The beneficial effects of resveratrol are relevant to restoring NO bioavailability, reducing oxidative stress, and antagonizing the AHR signaling pathway. Our results cast a new light on resveratrol as a reprogramming strategy to protect against hypertension programmed by combined BPA and HF exposure, but this strategy has yet to be translated into clinical applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Research of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2.0)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals and Type 1 Diabetes
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(8), 2937; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21082937 - 22 Apr 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is the most common chronic metabolic disease in children and adolescents. The etiology of T1D is not fully understood but it seems multifactorial. The genetic background determines the predisposition to develop T1D, while the autoimmune process against β-cells seems [...] Read more.
Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is the most common chronic metabolic disease in children and adolescents. The etiology of T1D is not fully understood but it seems multifactorial. The genetic background determines the predisposition to develop T1D, while the autoimmune process against β-cells seems to be also determined by environmental triggers, such as endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Environmental EDCs may act throughout different temporal windows as single chemical agent or as chemical mixtures. They could affect the development and the function of the immune system or of the β-cells function, promoting autoimmunity and increasing the susceptibility to autoimmune attack. Human studies evaluating the potential role of exposure to EDCs on the pathogenesis of T1D are few and demonstrated contradictory results. The aim of this narrative review is to summarize experimental and epidemiological studies on the potential role of exposure to EDCs in the development of T1D. We highlight what we know by animals about EDCs’ effects on mechanisms leading to T1D development and progression. Studies evaluating the EDC levels in patients with T1D were also reported. Moreover, we discussed why further studies are needed and how they should be designed to better understand the causal mechanisms and the next prevention interventions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Research of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2.0)
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Open AccessReview
Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals and Their Effects during Female Puberty: A Review of Current Evidence
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(6), 2078; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21062078 - 18 Mar 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Puberty is the process of physical changes between childhood and adulthood during which adolescents reach sexual maturity and become capable of reproduction. It is considered one of the main temporal windows of susceptibility for the influence of the endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). EDCs may [...] Read more.
Puberty is the process of physical changes between childhood and adulthood during which adolescents reach sexual maturity and become capable of reproduction. It is considered one of the main temporal windows of susceptibility for the influence of the endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). EDCs may act as single chemical agents or as chemical mixtures; they can be pubertal influencers, accelerating and anticipating the processing of maturation of secondary sexual characteristics. Moreover, recent studies have started to point out how exposure to EDCs during puberty may predispose to breast cancer later in life. In fact, the estrogen-mimicking endocrine disruptors (EEDs) may influence breast tissue development during puberty in two main ways: the first is the action on the proliferation of the breast stromal cells, the second concerns epigenetic mechanisms. The aim of this mini-review was to better highlight what is new and what is not completely known regarding the role of EDCs during puberty. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Research of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2.0)
Open AccessReview
Endocrine Disruptors in Water and Their Effects on the Reproductive System
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(6), 1929; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21061929 - 12 Mar 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Anthropogenic contaminants in water can impose risks to reproductive health. Most of these compounds are known to be endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). EDCs can impact the endocrine system and subsequently impair the development and fertility of non-human animals and humans. The source of [...] Read more.
Anthropogenic contaminants in water can impose risks to reproductive health. Most of these compounds are known to be endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs). EDCs can impact the endocrine system and subsequently impair the development and fertility of non-human animals and humans. The source of chemical contamination in water is diverse, originating from byproducts formed during water disinfection processes, release from industry and livestock activity, or therapeutic drugs released into sewage. This review discusses the occurrence of EDCs in water such as disinfection byproducts, fluorinated compounds, bisphenol A, phthalates, pesticides, and estrogens, and it outlines their adverse reproductive effects in non-human animals and humans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Research of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2.0)
Open AccessReview
Oestrogenic Endocrine Disruptors in the Placenta and the Fetus
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(4), 1519; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21041519 - 23 Feb 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are exogenous substances that interfere with the stability and regulation of the endocrine system of the body or its offspring. These substances are generally stable in chemical properties, not easy to be biodegraded, and can be enriched in organisms. [...] Read more.
Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are exogenous substances that interfere with the stability and regulation of the endocrine system of the body or its offspring. These substances are generally stable in chemical properties, not easy to be biodegraded, and can be enriched in organisms. In the past half century, EDCs have gradually entered the food chain, and these substances have been frequently found in maternal blood. Perinatal maternal hormone levels are unstable and vulnerable to EDCs. Some EDCs can affect embryonic development through the blood-fetal barrier and cause damage to the neuroendocrine system, liver function, and genital development. Some also effect cross-generational inheritance through epigenetic mechanisms. This article mainly elaborates the mechanism and detection methods of estrogenic endocrine disruptors, such as bisphenol A (BPA), organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), diethylstilbestrol (DES) and phthalates (PAEs), and their effects on placenta and fetal health in order to raise concerns about the proper use of products containing EDCs during pregnancy and provide a reference for human health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Research of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2.0)
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Open AccessReview
Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals in Human Fetal Growth
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(4), 1430; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21041430 - 20 Feb 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Fetal growth is regulated by a complex interaction of maternal, placental, and fetal factors. The effects and outcomes that chemicals, widely distributed in the environment, may have on the health status of both the mother and the fetus are not yet well defined. [...] Read more.
Fetal growth is regulated by a complex interaction of maternal, placental, and fetal factors. The effects and outcomes that chemicals, widely distributed in the environment, may have on the health status of both the mother and the fetus are not yet well defined. Mainly mixtures of chemical substances are found in the mothers and placenta. Exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can be associated with fetal growth retardation, thyroid dysfunction, and neurological disorders. EDCs mostly interfere with insulin, glucocorticoid, estrogenic, and thyroid pathways, with subsequent effects on normal endocrine and metabolic functions, which cause changes in the epigenome and state of inflammation with life-long effects and consequences. International scientific societies recommend the implementation of research and of all possible preventive measures. This review briefly summarizes all these aspects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Research of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2.0)

Other

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Open AccessProject Report
The ENDpoiNTs Project: Novel Testing Strategies for Endocrine Disruptors Linked to Developmental Neurotoxicity
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(11), 3978; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21113978 - 01 Jun 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Ubiquitous exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) has caused serious concerns about the ability of these chemicals to affect neurodevelopment, among others. Since endocrine disruption (ED)-induced developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) is hardly covered by the chemical testing tools that are currently in regulatory use, the [...] Read more.
Ubiquitous exposure to endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) has caused serious concerns about the ability of these chemicals to affect neurodevelopment, among others. Since endocrine disruption (ED)-induced developmental neurotoxicity (DNT) is hardly covered by the chemical testing tools that are currently in regulatory use, the Horizon 2020 research and innovation action ENDpoiNTs has been launched to fill the scientific and methodological gaps related to the assessment of this type of chemical toxicity. The ENDpoiNTs project will generate new knowledge about ED-induced DNT and aims to develop and improve in vitro, in vivo, and in silico models pertaining to ED-linked DNT outcomes for chemical testing. This will be achieved by establishing correlative and causal links between known and novel neurodevelopmental endpoints and endocrine pathways through integration of molecular, cellular, and organismal data from in vitro and in vivo models. Based on this knowledge, the project aims to provide adverse outcome pathways (AOPs) for ED-induced DNT and to develop and integrate new testing tools with high relevance for human health into European and international regulatory frameworks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Research of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2.0)
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Open AccessProject Report
SCREENED: A Multistage Model of Thyroid Gland Function for Screening Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals in a Biologically Sex-Specific Manner
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(10), 3648; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21103648 - 21 May 2020
Abstract
Endocrine disruptors (EDs) are chemicals that contribute to health problems by interfering with the physiological production and target effects of hormones, with proven impacts on a number of endocrine systems including the thyroid gland. Exposure to EDs has also been associated with impairment [...] Read more.
Endocrine disruptors (EDs) are chemicals that contribute to health problems by interfering with the physiological production and target effects of hormones, with proven impacts on a number of endocrine systems including the thyroid gland. Exposure to EDs has also been associated with impairment of the reproductive system and incidence in occurrence of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases during ageing. SCREENED aims at developing in vitro assays based on rodent and human thyroid cells organized in three different three-dimensional (3D) constructs. Due to different levels of anatomical complexity, each of these constructs has the potential to increasingly mimic the structure and function of the native thyroid gland, ultimately achieving relevant features of its 3D organization including: (1) a 3D organoid based on stem cell-derived thyrocytes, (2) a 3D organoid based on a decellularized thyroid lobe stromal matrix repopulated with stem cell-derived thyrocytes, and (3) a bioprinted organoid based on stem cell-derived thyrocytes able to mimic the spatial and geometrical features of a native thyroid gland. These 3D constructs will be hosted in a modular microbioreactor equipped with innovative sensing technology and enabling precise control of cell culture conditions. New superparamagnetic biocompatible and biomimetic particles will be used to produce “magnetic cells” to support precise spatiotemporal homing of the cells in the 3D decellularized and bioprinted constructs. Finally, these 3D constructs will be used to screen the effect of EDs on the thyroid function in a unique biological sex-specific manner. Their performance will be assessed individually, in comparison with each other, and against in vivo studies. The resulting 3D assays are expected to yield responses to low doses of different EDs, with sensitivity and specificity higher than that of classical 2D in vitro assays and animal models. Supporting the “Adverse Outcome Pathway” concept, proteogenomic analysis and biological computational modelling of the underlying mode of action of the tested EDs will be pursued to gain a mechanistic understanding of the chain of events from exposure to adverse toxic effects on thyroid function. For future uptake, SCREENED will engage discussion with relevant stakeholder groups, including regulatory bodies and industry, to ensure that the assays will fit with purposes of ED safety assessment. In this project review, we will briefly discuss the current state of the art in cellular assays of EDs and how our project aims at further advancing the field of cellular assays for EDs interfering with the thyroid gland. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Research of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2.0)
Open AccessProject Report
The GOLIATH Project: Towards an Internationally Harmonised Approach for Testing Metabolism Disrupting Compounds
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(10), 3480; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21103480 - 14 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The purpose of this project report is to introduce the European “GOLIATH” project, a new research project which addresses one of the most urgent regulatory needs in the testing of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), namely the lack of methods for testing EDCs that disrupt [...] Read more.
The purpose of this project report is to introduce the European “GOLIATH” project, a new research project which addresses one of the most urgent regulatory needs in the testing of endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), namely the lack of methods for testing EDCs that disrupt metabolism and metabolic functions. These chemicals collectively referred to as “metabolism disrupting compounds” (MDCs) are natural and anthropogenic chemicals that can promote metabolic changes that can ultimately result in obesity, diabetes, and/or fatty liver in humans. This project report introduces the main approaches of the project and provides a focused review of the evidence of metabolic disruption for selected EDCs. GOLIATH will generate the world’s first integrated approach to testing and assessment (IATA) specifically tailored to MDCs. GOLIATH will focus on the main cellular targets of metabolic disruption—hepatocytes, pancreatic endocrine cells, myocytes and adipocytes—and using an adverse outcome pathway (AOP) framework will provide key information on MDC-related mode of action by incorporating multi-omic analyses and translating results from in silico, in vitro, and in vivo models and assays to adverse metabolic health outcomes in humans at real-life exposures. Given the importance of international acceptance of the developed test methods for regulatory use, GOLIATH will link with ongoing initiatives of the Organisation for Economic Development (OECD) for test method (pre-)validation, IATA, and AOP development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Research of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2.0)
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Open AccessProject Report
Integrated Approach to Evaluate the Association between Exposure to Pesticides and Idiopathic Premature Thelarche in Girls: The PEACH Project
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(9), 3282; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21093282 - 06 May 2020
Abstract
Several pesticides are recognized as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) since they can interfere with the dysregulation of sexual, thyroid and neuro-endocrine hormones. Children are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of EDCs due to their developmental stage, peculiar lifestyle and dietary habits. In this [...] Read more.
Several pesticides are recognized as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) since they can interfere with the dysregulation of sexual, thyroid and neuro-endocrine hormones. Children are particularly vulnerable to the adverse effects of EDCs due to their developmental stage, peculiar lifestyle and dietary habits. In this context, the exposure to pesticides represents an important risk factor associated with early development. This study deals with the possible association between exposure to pesticides and idiopathic premature thelarche in girls from areas of intensive agriculture practice in the Centre of Italy. An integrated approach was set up, including: (i) a case-control study on girls with idiopathic premature thelarche; (ii) the evaluation of multiple pesticides exposure in girls; (iii) the evaluation of multiple pesticides in food; (iv) the dietary intake of pesticide residues; (v) the assessment of toxicological effects of widely used pesticides by in vitro model. Data integration will provide an estimate of the predictive risk of potential effects on girls’ health, linked to dietary intake. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Research of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2.0)
Open AccessProject Report
Safeguarding Female Reproductive Health Against Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals—The FREIA Project
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(9), 3215; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21093215 - 01 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Currently available test methods are not well-suited for the identification of chemicals that disturb hormonal processes involved in female reproductive development and function. This renders women’s reproductive health at increasing risk globally, which, coupled with increasing incidence rates of reproductive disorders, is of [...] Read more.
Currently available test methods are not well-suited for the identification of chemicals that disturb hormonal processes involved in female reproductive development and function. This renders women’s reproductive health at increasing risk globally, which, coupled with increasing incidence rates of reproductive disorders, is of great concern. A woman’s reproductive health is largely established during embryonic and fetal development and subsequently matures during puberty. The endocrine system influences development, maturation, and function of the female reproductive system, thereby making appropriate hormone levels imperative for correct functioning of reproductive processes. It is concerning that the effects of human-made chemicals on the endocrine system and female reproductive health are poorly addressed in regulatory chemical safety assessment, partly because adequate test methods are lacking. Our EU-funded project FREIA aims to address this need by increasing understanding of how endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) can impact female reproductive health. We will use this information to provide better test methods that enable fit-for-purpose chemical regulation and then share our knowledge, promote a sustainable society, and improve the reproductive health of women globally. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Research of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2.0)
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Open AccessProject Report
Removing Critical Gaps in Chemical Test Methods by Developing New Assays for the Identification of Thyroid Hormone System-Disrupting Chemicals—The ATHENA Project
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(9), 3123; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21093123 - 28 Apr 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
The test methods that currently exist for the identification of thyroid hormone system-disrupting chemicals are woefully inadequate. There are currently no internationally validated in vitro assays, and test methods that can capture the consequences of diminished or enhanced thyroid hormone action on the [...] Read more.
The test methods that currently exist for the identification of thyroid hormone system-disrupting chemicals are woefully inadequate. There are currently no internationally validated in vitro assays, and test methods that can capture the consequences of diminished or enhanced thyroid hormone action on the developing brain are missing entirely. These gaps put the public at risk and risk assessors in a difficult position. Decisions about the status of chemicals as thyroid hormone system disruptors currently are based on inadequate toxicity data. The ATHENA project (Assays for the identification of Thyroid Hormone axis-disrupting chemicals: Elaborating Novel Assessment strategies) has been conceived to address these gaps. The project will develop new test methods for the disruption of thyroid hormone transport across biological barriers such as the blood–brain and blood–placenta barriers. It will also devise methods for the disruption of the downstream effects on the brain. ATHENA will deliver a testing strategy based on those elements of the thyroid hormone system that, when disrupted, could have the greatest impact on diminished or enhanced thyroid hormone action and therefore should be targeted through effective testing. To further enhance the impact of the ATHENA test method developments, the project will develop concepts for better international collaboration and development in the area of thyroid hormone system disruptor identification and regulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Research of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2.0)
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Open AccessProject Report
The EDCMET Project: Metabolic Effects of Endocrine Disruptors
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(8), 3021; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21083021 - 24 Apr 2020
Abstract
Endocrine disruptors (EDs) are defined as chemicals that mimic, block, or interfere with hormones in the body’s endocrine systems and have been associated with a diverse array of health issues. The concept of endocrine disruption has recently been extended to metabolic alterations that [...] Read more.
Endocrine disruptors (EDs) are defined as chemicals that mimic, block, or interfere with hormones in the body’s endocrine systems and have been associated with a diverse array of health issues. The concept of endocrine disruption has recently been extended to metabolic alterations that may result in diseases, such as obesity, diabetes, and fatty liver disease, and constitute an increasing health concern worldwide. However, while epidemiological and experimental data on the close association of EDs and adverse metabolic effects are mounting, predictive methods and models to evaluate the detailed mechanisms and pathways behind these observed effects are lacking, thus restricting the regulatory risk assessment of EDs. The EDCMET (Metabolic effects of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: novel testing METhods and adverse outcome pathways) project brings together systems toxicologists; experimental biologists with a thorough understanding of the molecular mechanisms of metabolic disease and comprehensive in vitro and in vivo methodological skills; and, ultimately, epidemiologists linking environmental exposure to adverse metabolic outcomes. During its 5-year journey, EDCMET aims to identify novel ED mechanisms of action, to generate (pre)validated test methods to assess the metabolic effects of Eds, and to predict emergent adverse biological phenotypes by following the adverse outcome pathway (AOP) paradigm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Research of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2.0)
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Open AccessProject Report
Integrative Strategy of Testing Systems for Identification of Endocrine Disruptors Inducing Metabolic Disorders—An Introduction to the OBERON Project
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(8), 2988; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21082988 - 23 Apr 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Exposure to chemical substances that can produce endocrine disrupting effects represents one of the most critical public health threats nowadays. In line with the regulatory framework implemented within the European Union (EU) to reduce the levels of endocrine disruptors (EDs) for consumers, new [...] Read more.
Exposure to chemical substances that can produce endocrine disrupting effects represents one of the most critical public health threats nowadays. In line with the regulatory framework implemented within the European Union (EU) to reduce the levels of endocrine disruptors (EDs) for consumers, new and effective methods for ED testing are needed. The OBERON project will build an integrated testing strategy (ITS) to detect ED-related metabolic disorders by developing, improving and validating a battery of test systems. It will be based on the concept of an integrated approach for testing and assessment (IATA). OBERON will combine (1) experimental methods (in vitro, e.g., using 2D and 3D human-derived cells and tissues, and in vivo, i.e., using zebrafish at different stages), (2) high throughput omics technologies, (3) epidemiology and human biomonitoring studies and (4) advanced computational models (in silico and systems biology) on functional endpoints related to metabolism. Such interdisciplinary framework will help in deciphering EDs based on a mechanistic understanding of toxicity by providing and making available more effective alternative test methods relevant for human health that are in line with regulatory needs. Data generated in OBERON will also allow the development of novel adverse outcome pathways (AOPs). The assays will be pre-validated in order to select the test systems that will show acceptable performance in terms of relevance for the second step of the validation process, i.e., the inter-laboratory validation as ring tests. Therefore, the aim of the OBERON project is to support the organization for economic co-operation and development (OECD) conceptual framework for testing and assessment of single and/or mixture of EDs by developing specific assays not covered by the current tests, and to propose an IATA for ED-related metabolic disorder detection, which will be submitted to the Joint Research Center (JRC) and OECD community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Research of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2.0)
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Open AccessProject Report
ERGO: Breaking Down the Wall between Human Health and Environmental Testing of Endocrine Disrupters
Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2020, 21(8), 2954; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms21082954 - 22 Apr 2020
Abstract
ERGO (EndocRine Guideline Optimization) is the acronym of a European Union-funded research and innovation action, that aims to break down the wall between mammalian and non-mammalian vertebrate regulatory testing of endocrine disruptors (EDs), by identifying, developing and aligning thyroid-related biomarkers and endpoints (B/E) [...] Read more.
ERGO (EndocRine Guideline Optimization) is the acronym of a European Union-funded research and innovation action, that aims to break down the wall between mammalian and non-mammalian vertebrate regulatory testing of endocrine disruptors (EDs), by identifying, developing and aligning thyroid-related biomarkers and endpoints (B/E) for the linkage of effects between vertebrate classes. To achieve this, an adverse outcome pathway (AOP) network covering various modes of thyroid hormone disruption (THD) in multiple vertebrate classes will be developed. The AOP development will be based on existing and new data from in vitro and in vivo experiments with fish, amphibians and mammals, using a battery of different THDs. This will provide the scientifically plausible and evidence-based foundation for the selection of B/E and assays in lower vertebrates, predictive of human health outcomes. These assays will be prioritized for validation at OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) level. ERGO will re-think ED testing strategies from in silico methods to in vivo testing and develop, optimize and validate existing in vivo and early life-stage OECD guidelines, as well as new in vitro protocols for THD. This strategy will reduce requirements for animal testing by preventing duplication of testing in mammals and non-mammalian vertebrates and increase the screening capacity to enable more chemicals to be tested for ED properties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Research of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals 2.0)
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