Effects of Prenatal Exposure to Endocrine Disrupters on Cerebral Cortex Development
For several decades, the focus of most studies on endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) has been the reproductive system, with fertility and hormone-dependent cancers being the most critical issues. Cerebral cortex development is very sensitive to hormonal environment, in particular thyroid hormones and sex steroids. Experimental data concerning early exposure to polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) illustrate the detrimental effect of endocrine disrupters on the central nervous system. While epidemiological studies have reported a negative correlation between prenatal exposure to PCBs and cognitive performances, the molecular and cellular mechanisms of such neurotoxicity are incompletely understood. This paper will review the role of thyroid hormones and sex steroids in cerebral cortex development and will illustrate, with PCBs and bisphenol A, the potential effects of EDCs on cerebral cortex development.
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