The modern concept of thyroid disruptors includes synthetic chemicals and bioactive compounds from food that interfere with any aspect of the hypothalamus–pituitary–thyroid axis, thyroid hormone biosynthesis and secretion, blood and transmembrane transport, metabolism and local actions of thyroid hormones. This review highlights relevant disruptors that affect populations through their diet: directly from food itself (fish oil and polyunsaturated fatty acids, pepper, coffee, cinnamon and resveratrol/grapes), through vegetable cultivation (pesticides) and from containers for food storage and cooking (bisphenol A, phthalates and polybrominated diphenyl ethers). Due to the vital role of thyroid hormones during every stage of life, we review effects from the gestational period to adulthood, including evidence from in vitro studies, rodent models, human trials and epidemiological studies.
Karen Jesus Oliveira, Maria Isabel Chiamolera, Gisele Giannocco, Carmen Cabanelas Pazos-Moura and Tania Maria Ortiga-Carvalho
H Inoshita, H Masuyama and Y Hiramatsu
An endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC) can alter endocrine functions through a variety of mechanisms, including nuclear receptor-mediated changes in protein synthesis, interference with membrane receptor binding, steroidogenesis or synthesis of other hormones. Although major chemicals have been shown to disrupt estrogenic actions mainly through their binding to estrogen receptor (ER) or androgen receptor, it is not clear how EDCs affect endocrine functions in vivo. We present evidence that the EDCs bisphenol A and phthalate activate ER-mediated transcription through interaction with TRAP220. Moreover, bisphenol A had positive effects on the interaction between ER-beta and TRAP220 and on the expression of ER-beta and TRAP220 compared with phthalate and estradiol in uterine tIssue. These data suggested that some EDCs might alter endocrine function through the change of the receptor and coactivator levels in uterine tIssue and through the different effect on the interaction between ERs and coactivator TRAP220.
Michael E Baker and Gary Hardiman
Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs), including plasticizers, pesticides, detergents, and pharmaceuticals, affect a variety of hormone-regulated physiological pathways in humans and wildlife. Many EDCs are lipophilic molecules and bind to hydrophobic pockets in steroid receptors, such as the estrogen receptor and androgen receptor, which are important in vertebrate reproduction and development. Indeed, health effects attributed to EDCs include reproductive dysfunction (e.g. reduced fertility, reproductive tract abnormalities, and skewed male:female sex ratios in fish), early puberty, various cancers, and obesity. A major concern is the effects of exposure to low concentrations of endocrine disruptors in utero and post partum, which may increase the incidence of cancer and diabetes in adults. EDCs affect transcription of hundreds and even thousands of genes, which has created the need for new tools to monitor the global effects of EDCs. The emergence of massive parallel sequencing for investigating gene transcription provides a sensitive tool for monitoring the effects of EDCs on humans and other vertebrates, as well as elucidating the mechanism of action of EDCs. Zebrafish conserve many developmental pathways found in humans, which makes zebrafish a valuable model system for studying EDCs, especially on early organ development because their embryos are translucent. In this article, we review recent advances in massive parallel sequencing approaches with a focus on zebrafish. We make the case that zebrafish exposed to EDCs at different stages of development can provide important insights on EDC effects on human health.
Elin Swedenborg, Joëlle Rüegg, Sari Mäkelä and Ingemar Pongratz
Endocrine disruption refers to the ability of chemicals to interfere with hormonal systems, and has raised considerable concern in recent years. Endocrine disruptive chemicals (EDCs) pose a documented risk to wildlife and have the potential to negatively influence human health. This review focuses on the molecular mechanisms of endocrine disruption and the possible involvement of EDCs in metabolic disorders. The first part describes the role of aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) and nuclear receptors (NRs) in mediating effects of EDCs, in particular, how cross-talk between AhR and NR pathways can lead to endocrine disruption. The second part deals with how these receptors are involved in metabolic functions and how their targeting by EDCs can lead to disturbances in glucose and fat metabolism. The article illustrates that, although there is accumulating data on molecular mechanisms of EDC action as well as on EDC involvement in metabolic disorders, there is still a great demand for data that can unite the mechanistic and the toxicological/epidemiological observations.
J Jääskeläinen, A Deeb, J W Schwabe, N P Mongan, H Martin and I A Hughes
Most mutations in the androgen receptor (AR) ligand-binding domain (LBD) disrupt binding of the natural ligands: dihydrotestosterone and testosterone. Some AR LBD mutations do not affect ligand binding but they disrupt androgen-induced interaction of the N-terminal motif FXXLF and C-terminal activation function 2 (AF2). As N-/C-terminal interaction requires binding of agonists that have androgen activity in vivo, it correlates well with the phenotype. To study this further, we searched the Cambridge intersex database for patients with a detected missense mutation in the AR LBD presenting with normal ligand binding. Six mutations (D695N, Y763C, R774H, Q798E, R855H and L907F) were selected and introduced by site-directed mutagenesis into the pSVAR and pM-LBD plasmids. The transactivational potential of the wild-type and mutant androgen receptors (pSVAR) was examined by dual-luciferase assay using pGRE-LUC as a reporter vector. N-/C-terminal interaction was studied by mammalian two-hybrid assay using wild-type and mutated AR LBD (pM-LBD), pVP16-rAR-(5–538) (encoding rat amino-terminal AR) and pCMX-UAS-TK-LUC as a reporter. AR LBD mutations D695N, R774H and L907F presented with minimal transactivational capacity and N-/C-terminal interaction was totally disrupted. Mutations Y763C and R885H had some residual dose-dependent transactivational potential and minimal N-/C-terminal interaction. Q798E presented with good transactivational potential and it showed only mild reduction in N-/C-terminal interaction. With the selected mutations, N-/C-terminal interaction correlated well with AR transactivation and the phenotype. Disrupted N-/C-terminal interaction is capable of providing the mechanism for androgen-insensitivity syndrome in most cases where the mutation in the LBD does not disrupt ligand binding. Furthermore, mutations leading to the disrupted N-/C-terminal interaction can be localized to certain critical regions in the three-dimensional structure of the AR LBD. Our study shows that apart from the previously reported regions, regions just before helix 3, between helices 5 and 6, and at helix 10 are also important for AR N-/C-terminal interaction.
J-M Frenoux, P Vernet, D H Volle, A Britan, F Saez, A Kocer, J Henry-Berger, D J Mangelsdorf, J-M A Lobaccaro and J R Drevet
In this study we looked at the epididymides and spermatozoa of mice knocked-out for nuclear oxysterol receptors (LXR). We have shown that LXR-deficient mice exhibited upon ageing a severe disruption of their caput epididymides associated with abnormal accumulation of neutral lipids. The epididymis defaults were correlated with sperm head fragility and infertility. In agreement with the observed caput defect in transgenic animals in which both LXRα and LXRβ isoforms were disrupted, we have shown here that both receptors are expressed in caput and cauda epididymides regions. LXRβ was predominantly expressed throughout the mouse epididymis while the expression of LXRα was weaker. In addition, the expression of selected genes that can be considered as markers of adult epididymis function was monitored via Northern blots in the different single and double LXR-deficient backgrounds. Altogether, the data presented here suggest that LXR receptors are important actors in epididymis function.
Abby F Fleisch, Robert O Wright and Andrea A Baccarelli
Endocrine disrupting chemicals that are structurally similar to steroid or amine hormones have the potential to mimic endocrine endpoints at the receptor level. However, more recently, epigenetic-induced alteration in gene expression has emerged as an alternative way in which environmental compounds may exert endocrine effects. We review concepts related to environmental epigenetics and relevance for endocrinology through three broad examples: 1) effect of early-life nutritional exposures on future obesity and insulin resistance, 2) effect of lifetime environmental exposures such as ionizing radiation on endocrine cancer risk, and 3) potential for compounds previously classified as endocrine disrupting to additionally or alternatively exert effects through epigenetic mechanisms. The field of environmental epigenetics is still nascent, and additional studies are needed to confirm and reinforce data derived from animal models and preliminary human studies. Current evidence suggests that environmental exposures may significantly impact expression of endocrine-related genes and thereby affect clinical endocrine outcomes.
R Betney and IJ McEwan
The intracellular androgen receptor (AR) is a ligand-activated transcription factor. Upon binding the steroids testosterone or dihydrotestosterone, the activated receptor translocates to the nucleus, binds to specific DNA response elements and interacts with the transcription machinery in order to regulate gene transcription. In the present study, we have described a highly conserved region (amino acids 224-258) within the AR AF-1 domain and have investigated the role of conserved bulky hydrophobic residues in gene regulation. Mutating pairs of residues (I229A/L236A; V240A/V242A; L251A/L254A) reduced transactivation activity by 25-40%. Mutating residues M244, L246 and V248 to alanines had a more dramatic affect on receptor activity, disrupting activity by at least 60%. The latter mutations also disrupted binding to the RNA polymerase-associated protein 74 subunit of the general transcription factor TFIIF. The protein conformation and stability of the mutant polypeptide in vitro was not significantly different from the wild type. None of the mutations tested disrupted binding of the AF-1 domain with the coactivator protein steroid receptor coactivator-1a. Thus we have concluded that conserved hydrophobic residues are important for receptor-dependent gene transcription and that M244, L246 and V248 are part of the binding interface for TFIIF.
Rosalia C M Simmen and Angela S Kelley
Enhanced inflammation and reduced apoptosis sustain the growth of endometriotic lesions. Alterations in the expression of estrogen receptor-alpha (ERα) and estrogen receptor-beta (ERβ) accompany the conversion of resident endometrial cells within the normal uterine environment to ectopic lesions located in extrauterine sites. Recent studies highlighted in this focused review linked ERβ to dysregulation of apoptotic and inflammatory networks involving novel interacting partners in endometriosis. The elucidation of these nongenomic actions of ERβ using human cells and mouse models is an important step in understanding key regulatory pathways that are disrupted leading to disease establishment and progression.
Emily Tubbs and Jennifer Rieusset
Beyond the maintenance of cellular homeostasis and the determination of cell fate, ER–mitochondria contact sites, defined as mitochondria-associated membranes (MAM), start to emerge as an important signaling hub that integrates nutrient and hormonal stimuli and adapts cellular metabolism. Here, we summarize the established structural and functional features of MAM and mainly focus on the latest breakthroughs highlighting a crucial role of organelle crosstalk in the control of metabolic homeostasis. Lastly, we discuss recent studies that have revealed the importance of MAM in not only metabolic diseases but also in other pathologies with disrupted metabolism, shedding light on potential common molecular mechanisms and leading hopefully to novel treatment strategies.