Endocrine disrupters and possible contribution to pubertal changes.


Neuroendocrinology Unit, GIGA Neurosciences, University of Liège, Sart-Tilman, B-4000, Liège, Belgium; Department of Pediatrics, CHU de Liège, Rue de Gaillarmont 600, B-4032, Chênée, Belgium. Electronic address: [Email]


The onset of puberty strongly depends on organizational processes taking place during the fetal and early postnatal life. Therefore, exposure to environmental pollutants such as Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) during critical periods of development can result in delayed/advanced puberty and long-term reproductive consequences. Human evidence of altered pubertal timing after exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals is equivocal. However, the age distribution of pubertal signs points to a skewed distribution towards earliness for initial pubertal stages and towards lateness for final pubertal stages. Such distortion of distribution is a recent phenomenon and suggests environmental influences including the possible role of nutrition, stress and endocrine disruptors. Rodent and ovine studies indicate a role of fetal and neonatal exposure to EDCs, along the concept of early origin of health and disease. Such effects involve neuroendocrine mechanisms at the level of the hypothalamus where homeostasis of reproduction is programmed and regulated but also peripheral effects at the level of the gonads or the mammary gland.


endocrine disruptors,environment,gonadotropin releasing hormone,hypothalamus,puberty,secular trend,

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