The Scientific World Journal

The Scientific World Journal / 2001 / Article
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Collection of Directions in Science Articles from TheScientificWorldJOURNAL

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Directions in Science | Open Access

Volume 1 |Article ID 230940 | 3 pages | https://doi.org/10.1100/tsw.2001.359

Symbiotic Gene Activation is Interrupted by Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals

Academic Editor: Lawrence A. Frohman

Abstract

Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) include organochlorine pesticides, plastics manufacturing by-products, and certain herbicides[1]. These chemicals have been shown to disrupt hormonal signaling in exposed wildlife, lab animals, and mammalian cell culture by binding to estrogen receptors (ER-α and ER-β) and affecting the expression of estrogen responsive genes[2,3]. Additionally, certain plant chemicals, termed phytoestrogens, are also able to bind to estrogen receptors and modulate gene expression, and as such also may be considered EDCs[4]. One example of phytoestrogen action is genistein, a phytochemical produced by soybeans, binding estrogen receptors, and changing expression of estrogen responsive genes which certain studies have linked to a lower incidence of hormonally related cancers in Japanese populations[5]. Why would plants make compounds that are able to act as estrogens in the human body? Obviously, soybeans do not intentionally produce phytoestrogens to prevent breast cancer in Japanese women.


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