Neuroendocrine Disruption: More Than Hormones are Upset

dc.contributor.authorTrudeau, Vance L.
dc.description.abstractOnly a small proportion of the published research on endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDC) directly examined effects on neuroendocrine processes. There is an expanding body of evidence that anthropogenic chemicals exert effects on neuroendocrine systems and that these changesmight impact peripheral organ systems and physiological processes. Neuroendocrine disruption extends the concept of endocrine disruption to include the full breadth of integrative physiology (i.e., more than hormones are upset). Pollutants may also disrupt numerous other neurochemical pathways to affect an animal’s capacity to reproduce, develop and grow, or deal with stress and other challenges. Several examples are presented in this review, from both vertebrates and invertebrates, illustrating that diverse environmental pollutants including pharmaceuticals, organochlorine pesticides, and industrial contaminants have the potential to disrupt neuroendocrine control mechanisms. While most investigations on EDC are carried out with vertebrate models, an attempt is also made to highlight the importance of research on invertebrate neuroendocrine disruption. The neurophysiology of many invertebrates is well described and many of their neurotransmitters are similar or identical to those in vertebrates; therefore, lessons learned from one group of organisms may help us understand potential adverse effects in others. This review argues for the adoption of systems biology and integrative physiology to address the effects of EDC. Effects of pulp and paper mill effluents on fish reproduction are a good example of where relatively narrow hypothesis testing strategies (e.g., whether or not pollutants are sex steroid mimics) have only partially solved a major problem in environmental biology. It is clear that a global, integrative physiological approach, including improved understanding of neuroendocrine control mechanisms, is warranted to fully understand the impacts of pulp and paper mill effluents. Neuroendocrine disruptors are defined as pollutants in the environment that are capable of acting as agonists/antagonists or modulators of the synthesis and/or metabolism of neuropeptides, neurotransmitters, or neurohormones, which subsequently alter diverse physiological, behavioral, or hormonal processes to affect an animal’s capacity to reproduce, develop and grow, or deal with stress and other challenges. By adopting a definition of neuroendocrine disruption that encompasses both direct physiological targets and their indirect downstream effects, from the level of the individual to the ecosystem, a more comprehensive picture of the consequences of environmentally relevant EDC exposure may emerge.
dc.description.sponsorshipUniversity of Ottawa Open Access Author Fund
dc.subjectendocrine-disrupting chemicals
dc.subjectNeuroendocrine disruption
dc.subjectEDC exposure
dc.titleNeuroendocrine Disruption: More Than Hormones are Upset
CollectionBiologie // Biology
Publications en libre accès financées par uOttawa // uOttawa financed open access publications