Human exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals as a prenatal risk factor for cryptorchidism

This review describes the most recent data on the eff ects of endocrine disrupting compounds on reproductive tract development, aswell as controversies in the fi eld. One of the most frequent conditions aff ected by endocrine disrupting compounds is cryptorchidism.Recent reports regarding the cause of this disorder continue to increase our understanding of this common and important problem.Endocrine disruptors are defi ned as exogenous substances with the ability to disrupt normal endocrine homeostasis and reproduction,and they include xenoestrogens, synthetic and natural hormones, phyto- and mycoestrogens, and other substances aff ectingendocrine signaling. Human exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals is widespread. Epidemiological studies suggest associationsbetween prenatal exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals and numerous malformations of androgen dependent tissues.Animal models and epidemiological evidence link exposure to androgen disrupting chemicals with cryptorchidism, reduced spermcell counts, increasing infertility, and testicular and prostate cancers. Since male sexual diff erentiation is androgen dependent, it ishighly susceptible to endocrine disruptors. Whether the level of exposure contributes to the increasing prevalence of cryptorchidismis an ongoing debate. Further, there appears to be increased sensitivity to these agents during critical developmental periods whenmale diff erentiation is at its peak. Diff erences in the interpretation of the available studies underlie the disparate conclusions of scientific and regulatory body panels on the potential toxicological eff ects of endocrine disrupting chemicals at the current levels ofhuman exposure. This review will highlight the evidence for endocrine disrupting chemicals that act through interference with theandrogen receptor and lead to cryptorchidism.
Keywords: cryptorchidism; endocrine disruptors
Category: Review
Volume: Vol. 59, No 1, january - march 2015
Authors: I. Fratrić, D. Živković, S. Vukmirović
Reference work: Paediatr Croat. 2015;59:19-24

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