Biological Trace Element Research

, Volume 160, Issue 1, pp 1–14 | Cite as

Perspectives in Endocrine Toxicity of Heavy Metals—A Review

Article

Abstract

An attempt has been made to review the endocrine/hormonal implications of a few environmentally significant metals, viz, lead, mercury, cadmium, copper, arsenic and nickel, in man and animals. Special emphasis has been given to the adrenals, thyroid, testis, ovary and pancreas. Toxic metals can cause structural and functional changes in the adrenal glands. Their effects on steroidogenesis have been reviewed. It has been reported that thyroid hormone kinetics are affected by a number of metallic compounds. Occupational exposure to a few of these metals can cause testicular injury and sex hormone disturbances. Protective effects of a few antioxidants on their reproductive toxicity have also been discussed. Information gathered on female reproductive toxicity of heavy metals shows that exposure to these metals can lead to disturbances in reproductive performance in exposed subjects. Certain metals can cause injury to the endocrine pancreas. Exposure to them can cause diabetes mellitus and disturb insulin homeostasis. The need to develop molecular markers of endocrine toxicity of heavy metals has been suggested. Overall information described in this review is expected to be helpful in planning future studies on endocrine toxicity of heavy metals.

Keywords

Adrenals Thyroid Testis Ovary Pancreas Lead Mercury cadmium Reproductive and endocrine toxicity 

Abbreviations

c-AMP

Cyclic adenosine monophosphate

ACTH

Adrenocorticotrophic hormone

GH

Growth hormone

TSH

Thyroid-stimulating hormone

PbB

Lead in blood

RAR

Retinoic acid receptor

CNS

Central nervous system

UDP

Uridine phosphate

EPA

Environmental Protection Agency

ROS

Reactive oxygen species

ATSDR

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

PGF

Prostaglandin F

FSH

Follicle-stimulating hormone

LH

Luteinizing hormone

MT

Metallothionein

HIT-T15

Hamster insulinoma tumour β cells

RIN-m5F

Radiation-induced β cells

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Toxicology Laboratory, Department of ZoologyC. C. S. UniversityMeerutIndia

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