You are here:
CONTAMINANT-INDUCED ENDOCRINE DISRUPTION IN WILDLIFE
Guillette Jr., L. CONTAMINANT-INDUCED ENDOCRINE DISRUPTION IN WILDLIFE. GROWTH HORMONE AND IGF RESEARCH 10(Supplement B):45-50, (2000).
Environmental contaminants have posed a threat to the health of wildlife since the onset of the industrial age. Over the last four decades, much concern has focused on the lethal, carcinogenic and/or extreme teratogenic manifestations of environmental pollution. During the last decade, evidence suggests that the disruption of normal endocrine signalling by environmental contaminants is a mechanism that must also be examined. Man-made chemicals, know as xenochemicals, released into the environment can act as hormone agonists or antagonists and thereby disrupt hormone synthesis, action and metabolism, that is act as endocrine-disrupting contaminants. Our recent studies show that reptiles living in contaminated environments exhibit: (1) population declines due to the lethal and reproductive effects of the contaminants on embryos, juveniles or adults; (2) developmental abnormalities of embryos, including subtle effects in the reproductive system of alligators; and (3) abnormalities of the endocrine system. Numerous studies now demonstrate that any environmental pollutant that disrupts the normal steroid milieu of the developing embryo will have significant lifelong consequences on sex determination and on the organization and function of the reproductive and endocrine systems.