Introduction

Endocrine disruptors are chemical compounds that function as mimics of authentic agonist or antagonist ligands to endocrine receptors in animals. Under normal condition, any animal produces its authentic ligands of hormones and regulates homeostatic condition inside the body against external stress. Endocrine disruptors create a variety of functional troubles with animals including human beings. Among many types of hormones, reproductive hormones are important to wildlife, while human beings are concerned with hormone mimics of synthetic as well as natural chemicals in terms of endocrine, nerve, and immune system disruption. Irreversible endocrine disruption may occur at a sensitive development stage that is called a window period. Among development stages, fetus and perinatal stages are most sensitive to many disrupting chemicals. Those disrupting chemicals are effective in extremely low concentration ranges (pico-grams to nanograms per liter of blood) when they enter cells. There are optimum concentration ranges for different endocrine chemicals functioning inside cells, indicating lower concentration and higher concentration than the optimum range ineffective (called a reverse U-type concentration range). Endocrine chemicals function as information substances. After transferring information by coupling with hormone receptors, endocrine chemicals are easily oxidized and transformed into conjugates or broken amino acids, resulting in discharge out of cells and the body. Transferring information always induces necessary gene up- and downregulations, controlling gene functions for homeostatic condition. Endocrine systems evolved along evolution of animals. Authentic endocrine chemicals are produced from variety of external substances during metabolism. For example, many steroid hormones such as androgen, estrogen, corticoids, etc., are produced from cholesterol. Biogenicamine hormones such as serotonin, melatonin, etc., are produced from tryptophan. The fate of endocrine disrupting chemicals inside the cell is important to understand their toxic endpoints. During their metabolism, they may produce different toxic effects including DNA injury.

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