The menace of endocrine disruptors on thyroid hormone physiology and their impact on intrauterine development

George Mastorakos; Eftychia Karoutsou; Maria Mizamtsidi; George Creatsas
June 2007
Endocrine (1355008X);Jun2007, Vol. 31 Issue 3, p219
Academic Journal
The delivery of the appropriate thyroid hormones quantity to target tissues in euthyroidism is the result of unopposed synthesis, transport, metabolism, and excretion of these hormones. Thyroid hormones homeostasis depends on the maintenance of the circulating ‘free’ thyroid hormone reserves and on the development of a dynamic balance between the ‘free’ hormones reserves and those of the ‘bound’ hormones with the transport proteins. Disturbance of this hormone system, which is in constant interaction with other hormone systems, leads to an adaptational counter-response targeting to re-establish a new homeostatic equilibrium. An excessive disturbance is likely to result, however, in hypo- or hyper- thyroid clinical states. Endocrine disruptors are chemical substances forming part of ‘natural’ contaminating agents found in most ecosystems. There is abundant evidence that several key components of the thyroid hormones homeostasis are susceptible to the action of endocrine disruptors. These chemicals include some chlorinated organic compounds, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, herbicides, and pharmaceutical agents. Intrauterine exposure to endocrine disruptors that either mimic or antagonize thyroid hormones can produce permanent developmental disorders in the structure and functioning of the brain, leading to behavioral changes. Steroid receptors are important determinants of the consequences of endocrine disruptors. Their interaction with thyroid hormones complicates the effect of endocrine disruptors. The aim of this review is to present the effect of endocrine disruptors on thyroid hormones physiology and their potential impact on intrauterine development.


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