ISSN: 2168-9849
Cloning & Transgenesis
Make the best use of Scientific Research and information from our 700+ peer reviewed, Open Access Journals that operates with the help of 50,000+ Editorial Board Members and esteemed reviewers and 1000+ Scientific associations in Medical, Clinical, Pharmaceutical, Engineering, Technology and Management Fields.
Meet Inspiring Speakers and Experts at our 3000+ Global Conferenceseries Events with over 600+ Conferences, 1200+ Symposiums and 1200+ Workshops on
Medical, Pharma, Engineering, Science, Technology and Business

Endocrine Disrupters: The Hazards for Human Health

Luigi Mandrich*
Institute of Protein Biochemistry, National Research Council, Italy
Corresponding Author : Luigi Mandrich
Institute of Protein Biochemistry
National Research Council. Via Pietro Castellino 111
80131, Naples, Italy
Tel: +39 081 6132581
Fax: +39 081 6132248
Received January 16, 2014; Accepted January 17, 2014; Published January 19, 2014
Citation: Mandrich L (2014) Endocrine Disrupters: The Hazards for Human Health. Clon Transgen 3:e110. doi:10.4172/2168-9849.1000e110
Copyright: © 2014 Mandrich L. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

Visit for more related articles at Cloning & Transgenesis


In last decades an increasing number of cases have been described in humans and wildlife ascribed to the effects of xenobiotics compounds which interfere with hormonal system. Generically, these compounds are described as endocrine disrupters; due to their potential hazard they have received great attention by the scientific community and the media. In this brief editorial will be considered some general aspect, and in particular related to a class of endocrine disrupters: the organophosphate pesticides.

Related to the industrial and agricultural activities thousands of compounds have been released into the environment, being not of natural origin they undergo a slow degradation. Some of these compounds are able to bind receptors of various hormones as agonists or antagonists, because they are spread in soils and waters they are found in the food chain reaching high levels of dangerousness. These compounds are known as Endocrine Disrupters compounds (ED), in particular they interfere with the synthesis, secretion, transport, binding, action or elimination of natural hormones in the body, responsible for the development, behavior, fertility, and maintenance of cellular homeostasis. These substances can be natural constituents of some foods, such as phytoestrogens contained in Medicago sativa (used as forage) and Soya beans, or xenobiotic compounds.
In 1999 European Commission lunched a strategy, reported in document COM (1999)706, to list a number of substances to be evaluated as possible endocrine disrupters. At beginning were considered 564 substances: 118 with evidence of ED or evidence of potential ED; 11 substances considered not to be ED based on available data and 435 substances with insufficient data to assess the hazards. Among these there were alkylbenzenes, alkylphenoles, bisphenoles, chlorophenols, benzenes, furanes, dioxins, phthalates, triazines, triazoles and pesticides (DDT derivatives and metabolites, carbamates, dithiocarbamates, organophosphates).
In the last 10 years, several in vitro and in vivo assays and theoretical predictions for ED have been developed to study mechanisms of action and to screen large numbers of chemicals for hormone activity, in order to ensure their safety. Actually about 800 chemicals are suspected to be ED, but only a small fraction is well known to affect the endocrine system. The lack of data leads to underestimate the risks from chemicals that potentially could disrupt the endocrine system. The results of many studies have highlighted that endocrine disrupters can have latent effects due to the exposure during early life or even in past generation (epigenetic effects), generating some questions, such as: When the exposure occurred? What is the magnitude of the exposure? What is the length of exposure? How the exposure is measured? What are the critical windows in development when ED would most likely occur? It's difficult to answer at these questions because it must consider critical time windows for exposure, the long latency between exposure and effect, and the realization that every similarly acting ED in a combination contributes to the overall mixture effect; this is a problem related to the pesticides (organophosphates or not), because they are used in different combinations and at different stages of growth and fruits ripening.
The Endocrine System
To understand why the ED is very dangerous to human health, it is necessary to introduce -briefly-what is the endocrine system and how it is regulated. The endocrine system is constituted by a series of ductless glands that secrete hormones into the blood, hormones are essential to regulate the majority of physiological functions. Hormones can be defined as molecules produced by endocrine glands circulating into the blood to reach their target [1]. Typically, the endocrine glands are the pituitary gland, hypothalamus and pineal gland in the brain, the thyroid and parathyroid glands, the adrenal glands, thymus, the gonads and pancreatic islets; moreover there are other organs that have secondary endocrine functions, such as heart, adipose tissue, kidneys and gastrointestinal tract (Figure 1). Circulating hormones act on cells and tissues recognized by specific receptors. Hormones are fundamental for controlling many processes in the body, and differently during the embryogenesis, cell differentiation, organogenesis and function regulation in adults; this is valid for both vertebrates and invertebrates [1].
Environmental Factors and Diseases
Some studies have shown that about 25% of human diseases take as possible origin from environmental factors [2], because many diseases take origin from disorders of the endocrine system, the attention has been focused on some chemicals that potentially could be considered endocrine disruptors; up today more than 500 scientific publications report negative effects by chemicals on the endocrine system. Many evidences has been obtained by studying restricted area in which animals and peoples consuming the same food or being included in the same food chain shown similar diseases. An example is Greenland, in this huge island population has a traditional diet based mainly on fish, shellfish and shrimp caught in the area, native birds and whales, these animals have the characteristic to accumulate some contaminants in muscle tissues, liver and in fats; so the regular consumption of these foods leads to the transfer and accumulation of contaminants in humans [3]. In particular, in a study done about 10 years ago, were measured levels of some contaminants in the tissues (cadmium, mercury, selenium, polychlorinated biphenylis (PCB), dichlorophenyltrichloroethane (DDT), Chlordane, hexachlorocyclohexanes (HCH), chlorobenzenes, dieldrin and toxaphene) and it was measured the average amount of each food consumed: the results showed that for some of these compounds, such as cadmium, chlordanes and toxaphene levels were taken up to 6-7 times greater than the tolerable intakes; whereas mercury, PCB and dieldrin exceed approximately 50% [4-6]. Mercury [7], selenium [7], cadmium [7], DDT [8], PCB [9] are endocrine disrupters; the pesticides HCH are toxic but only suspected to be endocrine disrupters (http:// of_potential_endocrine_disruptors/). The presence of these chemicals in food chain lead to an accumulation of dangerous substances in human and wildlife populations because they have not mechanisms to detoxify and/or degrading these chemicals. For these reasons similar effect on endocrine system have been observed in human and animal [10], in particular have been observed deceased hatching in birds, turtles and fish [11,12]; lower sperm quality in humans [13,14]; disordered behavior in birds and mammals, increase of malformations and cancers [15,16].
Pesticides as Endocrine Disrupters
Pesticides are considered very dangerous for their potential effects on human health and also because their extensive worldwide utilization leading to potentially widespread exposure through residues in food and environment. Many aspects about the toxicity of pesticides are well know, in particular about their neurotoxic effects, in fact pesticides organophosphates and carbamates act as covalent and irreversible inhibitors of acetylcholinesterase, the key enzyme of the central nervous system. It has been reported that many organochlorine pesticides, such as DTT, methoxychlor and dieldrine [8] are identified as endocrine disrupters, even if organophosphorous and carbamate pesticides are less persistent in the environment with respect to the organochlorines, they are also present in food and in animals and humans [17,18], many evidences are collecting regard their effect as endocrine disrupters [17,19-21].
Organophosphate pesticides are phosphoric, phosphonic, phosphinicor, phosphoramidic acid derivatives, the phosphorous is linked by a double bond to an oxygen or sulphur atom, two alkoxy or amine group and an aromatic or heterocyclic group, among these chlorpyrifos (called also Dursban, Figure 3) has been the first introduced in commerce in 1965 [22], and for this reasons is one of most studied in terms of toxic effect on humans and wildlife. Up today has been reported several effects due to the exposure of chlorpyrifos at dose levels not inducing brain acetyl cholinesterase inhibition, in particular it has been shown in mammals and cell lines oxidative stress in the developing brain [21,23], brain defects [22], genital defects [24], estrogenic activity [25], moreover there are indication that chlorpyrifos may have effect on thyroid and adrenal gland homoeostasis both in human and animal models [26,27]. In zebrafish can cause histopathological damage and induce the Hsp70 mediated response [28]. In bivalve chlorpyrifos induce defects in digestive gland in Mytilus galloprovincialis [29]. For other two organophosphate pesticides has been collected several data on their toxic effect: malathion and diazinon. In the case of malathion has been investigated its effect mixed with others pesticides, demonstrating an altered steroidogenesis in vitro [30] and early oogenesis in mice, when is in combination with diazinon [31]. Moreover there are evidences on diazinon that acts on cell adrenal gland and disruption of spermatogenic cell line in rat [32].
What Message
For authorities
It's clear that when the toxicity of pesticides is investigated we get evidences on their effect as endocrine disruptors, and the effect seem to increase when there is a mixing of different compounds and/or pesticides.
In the case of pesticides quantifying the risks due to the different mechanisms of exposure will play an important rule to obtain an attenuation of risk due to their exposure.
The main difficulties to develop a model to predict the human risk by pesticide exposure are the uncertainties on the poor quality or paucity of the data available for some of them. There are at least five main ways of human exposure (agricultural spray drift, dietary exposure, municipal, medicinal and home pesticide use, Figure 2), which must be quantified and accurately monitored to allow the protection of human health and wildlife. Therefore, local and regional authorities constantly should monitor, regulate or reduce, if necessary, the use of certain pesticides.
For next generations
The message for the next generations should be that whatever is released into the environment early or later it will be in contact with humans and could have critical consequences for current and future generations.
From research
Currently there are many studies ongoing to design effective methods to remove pesticides from the environment, in particular a rapid increase in the field of bioremediation has been observed, principally based on the use of free enzymes [33-35] and microorganisms [36]. Encouraging results has been obtained but they are not applicable on a large scale, therefore the development of these new technologies is important but the rational use of pesticides and the control of industrial and urban waste is essential to preserve wildlife and human health.
Select your language of interest to view the total content in your interested language
Share This Article
Relevant Topics
Disc 16S ribosomal RNA
Disc 454 sequencing
Disc Adaptive Cell Therapy
Disc Adenocarcinoma pancreas
Disc Advanced Cell Therapy
Disc Angelman Syndrome
Disc Apoptosis
Disc Auto immune Disease
Disc Autologous Cell
Disc Biomarkers in Clinical Trials
Disc Biomarkers in Oncology
Disc Cancer Genetics
Disc Cancer initiation and progression
Disc Carcinogenesis
Disc Causes of Down Syndrome
Disc Cell
Disc Cell Adhesion
Disc Cell Biology
Disc Cell Differentation
Disc Cell Growth
Disc Cell Replacemnt Therapy
Disc Cell Signalling
Disc Cell Staining
Disc Cell Therapy Bioprocessing
Disc Cell Therapy Products
Disc Cellular Physiology
Disc Chromogens
Disc Chromosomal Abnormalities
Disc Cloning
Disc Cloning Plants
Disc Cloning Vector
Disc Cloning and its application
Disc Cloning software
Disc Congenial Syndromes
Disc Correlative Embryology
Disc Cystic Fibrosis
Disc Cytogenetics
Disc Cytology
Disc Cytometry
Disc Cytopathology
Disc Cytotechnology
Disc DNA Replication
Disc DNA damage
Disc DNA sequencing
Disc Dendritic Cell Therapy
Disc Denovo sequencing
Disc Diagnosis of Tuberculosis
Disc Diagnostic Therapeutics
Disc Disease Diagnosis
Disc Ductal adenocarcinoma
Disc Embryology
Disc Embryonic Development
Disc Epigenetic modification
Disc Ethics in genetic engineering
Disc Evolutionary Genetics
Disc Fragile Syndrome
Disc Functional Genomics
Disc Gene Engineering
Disc Gene Flow
Disc Gene Mapping
Disc Gene Sequencing
Disc Gene Technology
Disc Gene chip technology
Disc Gene cloning
Disc Gene cloning (DNA cloning)
Disc Gene expression
Disc Gene mutations
Disc Gene profiling
Disc Gene splicing
Disc Gene targeting
Disc Gene variation
Disc Genetic Code
Disc Genetic Codon
Disc Genetic Diagnosis
Disc Genetic Diseases Screening
Disc Genetic Disorder
Disc Genetic Disorders
Disc Genetic Diversity
Disc Genetic Drift
Disc Genetic Mutations in Humans
Disc Genetic Probes
Disc Genetic Screening
Disc Genetic Skin Disorders
Disc Genetic Syndromes
Disc Genetic Testing for Diseases
Disc Genetic engineering application
Disc Genetic engineering crops
Disc Genetic linkage analysis
Disc Genetic linkages
Disc Genetically Modified Organisms
Disc Genetically engineered animals
Disc Genetically engineering foods
Disc Genome Biology
Disc Genome Sequencing
Disc Genome Sequencing Technique
Disc Genome engineering
Disc Green genetic engineering
Disc Hair Follicle Cells
Disc Hair cloning
Disc Hematology
Disc Hereditary Blood Disorders
Disc Hereditary Diseases
Disc Hereditary Disorders
Disc Hereditary Mutation
Disc Histology
Disc Histopathology
Disc Human Fertilization and Embryogenesis
Disc Human Genetics
Disc Human Mutation
Disc Human cloning
Disc Human genetic engineering
Disc Huntington disease
Disc Immune Cell Therapy
Disc Immuno Cytochemistry
Disc Immunofluoroscence
Disc In vitro Diagnostics
Disc Inherited Diseases
Disc Insulin genetics
Disc Live Cell Therapy
Disc Lymphomatous polyposis
Disc Marker Assisted Breeding
Disc Maxam gilbert sequencing
Disc Mendelian Genetics
Disc Mesenchymal Cells
Disc Metagenomics
Disc Microscopy Techniques
Disc Mitochiondrial Disease
Disc Molecular Biomarkers
Disc Molecular Cloning
Disc Molecular Diagnostic Market
Disc Molecular Tools for Earlier Diagnosis
Disc Morphogenesis
Disc Muscular Dystrophy
Disc Mutagenesis
Disc Neurocytology
Disc Next generation sequencing
Disc Next generation sequencing machines
Disc Next-Generation Sequencing
Disc Nucleotide Sequencing
Disc Ovation cell therapy
Disc Oxidative Stress Biomarkers
Disc Paired End Sequencing
Disc Pap smear
Disc Patau Syndromes
Disc Pathology Diagnosis
Disc Photo carcinogenesis
Disc Plasmid vector
Disc Polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
Disc Population Genetics
Disc Prenatal Genetic Testing
Disc Pyro Sequencing
Disc RNA Splicing
Disc Recombinant Cytokines
Disc Recombinant DNA
Disc Recombinant Gene
Disc Resistant genes
Disc Reye Syndromes
Disc Salivary Biomarkers
Disc Sanger Sequencing
Disc Selective breeding
Disc Sequencing primers
Disc Serum Biomarkers
Disc Sex Chromosomes
Disc Shotgun sequencing
Disc Sickel Cell Anemia
Disc Skin Cell Therapy
Disc Somatic Cell Therapy
Disc Somatic cell nuclear transfer
Disc Tay-Sachs
Disc Trans-Genesis
Disc Transcriptome sequencing
Disc Transporter gene
Disc Tumour Biomarkers
Disc Virus Diagnosis
Disc cDNA library
Recommended Journals
Disc Journal of Molecular Biomarkers & Diagnosis Journal
Disc Journal of Cell Science & Therapy Journal
Disc Journal of Cytology & Histology Journal
Disc Next Generation: Sequencing & Applications Journal
Disc Genetic Engineering Journal
Disc Gene Technology Journal
Disc Genetic Syndromes & Gene Therapy Journal
Disc Human Genetics & Embryology Journal
Disc Hereditary Genetics Journal
Disc Carcinogenesis & Mutagenesis Journal
  View More»
Recommended Conferences
Disc 5th Integrative Biology Conference
July 18-20, 2016, Berlin, Germany
Disc 7th Proteomics Conference
Oct 24-26, 2016, Rome, Italy
Disc 2nd Genetic Conference and Protein Engineering
Nov 14-16, 2016, Atlanta, USA
Article Tools
Disc Export citation
Disc Share/Blog this article
Article usage
  Total views: 11175
  [From(publication date):
January-2014 - Jun 29, 2016]
  Breakdown by view type
  HTML page views : 7443
  PDF downloads :3732

Post your comment

captcha   Reload  Can't read the image? click here to refresh

OMICS International Journals
Make the best use of Scientific Research and information from our 700 + peer reviewed, Open Access Journals
OMICS International Conferences 2016-17
Meet Inspiring Speakers and Experts at our 3000+ Global Annual Meetings

Contact Us

Agri, Food, Aqua and Veterinary Science Journals

Dr. Krish

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9040

Clinical and Biochemistry Journals

Datta A

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9037

Business & Management Journals


1-702-714-7001Extn: 9042

Chemical Engineering and Chemistry Journals

Gabriel Shaw

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9040

Earth & Environmental Sciences

Katie Wilson

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9042

Engineering Journals

James Franklin

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9042

General Science and Health care Journals

Andrea Jason

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9043

Genetics and Molecular Biology Journals

Anna Melissa

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9006

Immunology & Microbiology Journals

David Gorantl

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9014

Informatics Journals

Stephanie Skinner

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9039

Materials Science Journals

Rachle Green

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9039

Mathematics and Physics Journals

Jim Willison

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9042

Medical Journals

Nimmi Anna

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9038

Neuroscience & Psychology Journals

Nathan T

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9041

Pharmaceutical Sciences Journals

John Behannon

1-702-714-7001Extn: 9007

Social & Political Science Journals

Steve Harry

1-702-714-7001 Extn: 9042

© 2008-2016 OMICS International - Open Access Publisher. Best viewed in Mozilla Firefox | Google Chrome | Above IE 7.0 version