Nature Reviews Endocrinology

Early exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals impairs brain development

Our society is facing a public health challenge due to the widespread presence of chemicals in our environment. Among these compounds, Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals, are of special concern because of their ability to interfere with normal hormonal balance. These pollutants are present in plastics, pesticides and cosmetics, among others.


ne estimates that a newborn has been exposed to more than a hundred Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals before being born. The developing organism is especially vulnerable to these pollutants. While most studies have focused on classical hormonal target tissues, such as the gonads, recent data demonstrate that Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals are also able to impair the development of the brain. Specifically, studies mimicking environmental exposures in rodents reveal that Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals are able to impair the neuroendocrine control of puberty and reproduction. In the hypothalamus, the control of sexual maturation is orchestrated by a network of neurotransmitters, neuropeptides, (epi)-genetic and hormonal factors that leads to the activation of the release of the gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH). By interfering with these processes during early development, Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals can have long lasting consequences, impairing pubertal onset and inducing infertility. In this article, recently published in Nature Reviews Endocrinology, Anne-Simone Parent’s Team (Neuroendocrinology, Giga-Neuroscience) discusses the cellular and molecular consequences of developmental exposures to Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals on the neuroendocrine control of puberty and reproduction.


Cellular and molecular features of EDC exposure: consequences for the GnRH network

David Lopez-Rodriguez, Delphine Franssen, Julie Bakke , Alejandro Lomniczi, Anne-Simone Parent

Nat Rev Endocrinol. 2021 Feb;17(2):83-96.

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