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Endocrine Disruptors (Xenoestrogens): An Overview

  • George Dimogerontas
  • Charis Liapi
Chapter

Abstract

In the last decades, a large number of natural and synthetic chemicals have been identified as interfering with the endocrine system; they are collectively termed endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) or endocrine disruptors. According to the working definition of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), an endocrine disruptor is “an exogenous agent that interferes with the synthesis, release, transport, metabolism, binding, action, or elimination of natural hormones in the body responsible for the maintenance of homeostasis, reproduction, regulation of developmental processes and/or behavior”[1]. Endocrine disruptors comprise more than 100.000 synthetic chemical compounds that belong to different classes. A subset of the endocrine disruptors, including synthetic estrogens, natural products, commercial chemicals, industrial compounds, or by-products among which plastics, are known as environmental estrogens or xenoestrogens; they confer estrogenic potential (“estrogenicity”) translated as affinity to the estrogen receptors (ER) (α or β), thus ability to activate expression of estrogen-dependent genes or stimulation of cell proliferation of ER-competent cells [2].

Keywords

Estrogen Receptor Testicular Cancer Estrogenic Activity Endocrine Disruptor Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology, School of MedicineUniversity of AthensAthensGreece

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