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Journal of Thyroid Research
Volume 2016, Article ID 8765049, 14 pages
Review Article

Prenatal Exposures to Multiple Thyroid Hormone Disruptors: Effects on Glucose and Lipid Metabolism

1School of Medicine, The University of Queensland, Herston, QLD 4029, Australia
2UQ Centre for Clinical Research, The University of Queensland, Herston, QLD 4029, Australia
3Conjoint Endocrine Laboratory, Chemical Pathology, Pathology Queensland, Queensland Health, Herston, QLD 4029, Australia
4School of Biomedical Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, QLD 4001, Australia

Received 27 October 2015; Revised 8 January 2016; Accepted 12 January 2016

Academic Editor: Noriyuki Koibuchi

Copyright © 2016 Deborah Molehin et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. Thyroid hormones (THs) are essential for normal human fetal development and play a major role in the regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism. Delivery of TH to target tissues is dependent on processes including TH synthesis, transport, and metabolism. Thyroid hormone endocrine disruptors (TH-EDCs) are chemical substances that interfere with these processes, potentially leading to adverse pregnancy outcomes. Objectives. This review focuses on the effects of prenatal exposures to combinations of TH-EDCs on fetal and neonatal glucose and lipid metabolism and also discusses the various mechanisms by which TH-EDCs interfere with other hormonal pathways. Methods. We conducted a comprehensive narrative review on the effects of TH-EDCs with particular emphasis on exposure during pregnancy. Discussion. TH imbalance has been linked to many metabolic processes and the effects of TH imbalance are particularly pronounced in early fetal development due to fetal dependence on maternal TH for proper growth and development. The pervasive presence of EDCs in the environment results in ubiquitous exposure to either single or mixtures of EDCs with deleterious effects on metabolism. Conclusions. Further evaluation of combined effects of TH-EDCs on fetal metabolic endpoints could improve advice provided to expectant mothers.