Effects of Endocrine-disrupting Chemicals on Female Reproductive Health

The Open Biotechnology Journal 31 Mar 2016 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874070701610010054


Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are increasingly prevalent in the environment and the evidence demonstrates that they affect reproductive health, has been accumulating for the last few decades. In this review of recent literature, we present evidence of the effects of estrogen-mimicking EDCs on female reproductive health especially the ovaries and uteri. As representative EDCs, data from studies with a pharmaceutical estrogen, diethylstilbestrol (DES), an organochlorine pesticide methoxychlor (MXC), a phytoestrogen (genistein), and a chemical used in plastics, bisphenol a (BPA) have been presented. We also discuss the effects of a commonly found plasticizer in the environment, a phthalate (DEHP), even though it is not a typical estrogenic EDC. Collectively, these studies show that exposures during fetal and neonatal periods cause developmental reprogramming leading to adult reproductive disease. Puberty, estrous cyclicity, ovarian follicular development, and uterine functions are all affected by exposure to these EDCs. Evidence that epigenetic modifications are involved in the progression to adult disease is also presented.

Keywords: Bisphenol A, diethylstilbestrol, developmental reprogramming, endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), epigenetic, female reproductive health, genistein, methoxychlor, phthalate, ovary, uterus, xenoestrogen.
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