Pure Appl. Chem.,
Vol. 70, No. 9, pp. 1647-1656,
anthropogenic environmental oestrogens:
the scientific basis for risk assessment
and the control of hypophyseal gonadal functions:
possible implications of endocrine disruptors
F. Piva and L. Martini
Department of Endocrinology,
University of Milano, Via Balzaretti 9, I-20133 Milano, Italy.
E-mail: [email protected]
reports published so far may suggest that chemicals of plant origin or obtained
by synthesis may influence the central mechanisms controlling gonadotropin
secretion through a variety of different mechanisms.
Some compounds of herbal origin seem to affect the neuroendocrine system acting
as estrogens (zearalenone and genistein). Also some synthetic chemicals seem
to display an estrogenic influence on the neuroendocrine system (the pesticide
chlordecone, some of the polychlorinated biphenyls and of the alkylphenol
ethoxylates). However, other synthetic molecules may affect the central control
of gonadotropin secretion acting like antiandrogens (pesticides like DDT,
dioxin and vinclozolin) or by disrupting the adrenergic regulation of the
hypothalamo-pituitary-gonadal axis (the pesticides chlordimeform and thiram).
These conclusions refer only to a few compounds and are largely based on indirect
evidence; in many cases specific experiments are still to be performed. For
many other chemicals the possible mechanism of action on the neuroendocrine
system is still to be elucidated. However, the information collected so far
seems to suggest that the influence exerted by environmental endocrine disruptors
on the neuroendocrine system is more complex than previously anticipated.
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