Endocrine Disruption and In Vitro Ecotoxicology: Recent Advances and Approaches

  • Martin WagnerEmail author
  • Cornelia Kienle
  • Etiënne L. M. Vermeirssen
  • Jörg Oehlmann
Part of the Advances in Biochemical Engineering/Biotechnology book series (ABE, volume 157)


Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are man-made compounds interfering with hormone signaling. Omnipresent in the environment, they can cause adverse effects in a wide range of wildlife. Accordingly, Endocrine Disruption is one focal area of ecotoxicology. Because EDCs induce complex response patterns in vivo via a wide range of mechanisms of action, in vitro techniques have been developed to reduce and understand endocrine toxicity. In this review we revisit the evidence for endocrine disruption in diverse species and the underlying molecular mechanisms. Based on this, we examine the battery of in vitro bioassays currently in use in ecotoxicological research and discuss the following key questions. Why do we use in vitro techniques? What endpoints are we looking at? Which applications are we using in vitro bioassays for? How can we put in vitro data into a broader context? And finally, what is the practical relevance of in vitro data? In critically examining these questions, we review the current state-of-the-art of in vitro (eco)toxicology, highlight important limitations and challenges, and discuss emerging trends and future research needs.


Bioanalytical tools Bioassay Effect-directed analysis Endocrine-disrupting chemical Mechanism of action Risk assessment 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Martin Wagner
    • 1
    Email author
  • Cornelia Kienle
    • 2
  • Etiënne L. M. Vermeirssen
    • 2
  • Jörg Oehlmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department Aquatic EcotoxicologyGoethe University FrankfurtFrankfurtGermany
  2. 2.Swiss Centre for Applied Ecotoxicology, Eawag-EPFLDübendorfSwitzerland

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