Rates of metabolic diseases have increased at an astounding rate in recent decades. Even though poor diet and physical inactivity are central drivers, these lifestyle changes alone fail to fully account for the magnitude and rapidity of the epidemic. Thus, attention has turned to identifying novel risk factors, including the contribution of environmental endocrine disrupting chemicals. Epidemiologic and preclinical data support a role for various contaminants in the pathogenesis of diabetes. In addition to the vascular risk associated with dysglycemia, emerging evidence implicates multiple pollutants in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Reviewed herein are studies linking endocrine disruptors to these key diseases that drive significant individual and societal morbidity and mortality. Identifying chemicals associated with metabolic and cardiovascular disease as well as their mechanisms of action is critical for developing novel treatment strategies and public policy to mitigate the impact of these diseases on human health.
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Due to reference constraints, the authors were unable to include all the important work performed in the field of endocrine disruption of metabolism and cardiovascular disease. The current manuscript was meant to emphasize important aspects of environmental disruption of energy homeostasis and cardiovascular risk; any omissions were not meant to exclude important work contributing to the hypothesis that environmental contaminants play an important pathogenic role in the global epidemic of metabolic and cardiovascular disease. This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (K08-ES019176, R21-ES021354, and the Diabetes Research and Training Center [P60-DK020595]).
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Andrew G. Kirkley declares that he has no conflict of interest. Robert M. Sargis has received honoraria from the Korean Diabetes Association.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Topical Collection on Macrovascular Complications in Diabetes
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Kirkley, A.G., Sargis, R.M. Environmental Endocrine Disruption of Energy Metabolism and Cardiovascular Risk. Curr Diab Rep 14, 494 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11892-014-0494-0
- Cardiovascular disease
- Endocrine disruptors
- Energy metabolism
- Cardiovascular risk