Heavy Metals Acting as Endocrine Disrupters

Bogdan Georgescu, Carmen Georgescu, Stelian Dărăban, Anca Bouaru, Simona Paşcalău

Abstract


Last years researches focused on several natural and synthetic compounds that may interfere with the major functionsof the endocrine system and were termed endocrine disrupters. Endocrine disrupters are defined as chemicalsubstances with either agonist or antagonist endocrine effects in human and animals. These effects may be achievedby interferences with the biosynthesis or activity of several endogenous hormones. Recently, it was demonstratedthat heavy metals such as cadmium (Cd), arsen (As), mercury (Hg), nickel (Ni), lead (Pb) and zinc (Zn) may exhibitendocrine-disrupting activity in animal experiments. Emerging evidence of the intimate mechanisms of action ofthese heavy metals is accumulating. It was revealed, for example, that the Zn atom from the Zn fingers of theestrogen receptor can be replaced by several heavy metal molecules such as copper, cobalt, Ni and Cd. By replacingthe Zn atom with Ni or copper, binding of the estrogen receptor to the DNA hormone responsive elements in the cellnucleus is prevented. In both males and females, low-level exposure to Cd interferes with the biological effects ofsteroid hormones in reproductive organs. Arsen has the property to bind to the glucocorticoid receptor thusdisturbing glucocorticoids biological effects. With regard to Hg, this may induce alterations in male and femalefertility, may affect the function of the hypothalamo-pituitary-thyroid axis or the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal axis,and disrupt biosynthesis of steroid hormones.

Keywords


arsen; cadmium; endocrine disrupter; heavy metal; mercury; nickel

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Scientific Papers Animal Science and Biotechnologies publish open access articles under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence (read full legal code).


LUCRARI STIINTIFICE ZOOTEHNIE SI BIOTEHNOLOGII (SCIENTIFIC PAPERS ANIMAL SCIENCE AND BIOTECHNOLOGIES)

ISSN print 1841 - 9364
ISSN online 2344 - 4576
ISSN-L  1841 - 9364
(former ISSN 1221-5287, E-ISSN 1841-9364)

PUBLISHER: AGROPRINT Timisoara, Romania
PAPER ACCESS: Full text articles available for free
FREQUENCY: Semiannual
PUBLICATION LANGUAGE: English
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Banat´s University of Agricultural Sciences and Veterinary Medicine "King Michael I of Romania" from Timisoara
Bioengineering Faculty of Animal Resources
300645, Timişoara, Calea Aradului 119, Romania

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