Skip to 0 minutes and 7 secondsHello, my name is Jan Czerniecki and I am going to tell you about endocrine-disrupting compounds influence on hormonal homeostasis. All physiological processes occurring in human body are precisely regulated to keep specific state of balance called homeostasis. The crucial part of this regulation is realized using hormones - special molecules produced by specific organs. Their secretion is strictly determined and they are released in a right time and appropriate amount in specific circumstances. Human fertility as many other processes is regulated by hormones, especially by a special class of sex hormones such as estradiol, progesterone or testosterone which belongs to the group of steroid hormones. Any disturbances of hormonal regulation can lead to a decrease of reproductive potential and the development of infertility.

Skip to 1 minute and 8 secondsDuring the last few decades’ infertility became a significant problem in developing countries and many couples attempting to conceive are affected by infertility. The reason of such phenomenon remains unknown. Although infertility is a complex problem and may be caused by many factors, disruption of hormonal homeostasis is also taken into consideration. Especially, that significant increase of male infertility factor is observed. As a potential hormonal disrupting compounds the relatively new group of molecules was identified. They appeared in the environment as a result of development new technologies and replacement previously used substances by new materials. Nowadays plastics are ubiquitous and manufactured on a large scale. They are also used also in food industry for production of bottles and food containers.

Skip to 2 minutes and 6 secondsEven inner side of cans are usually coated with plastics. Plastics are polymers produced in the polymerization process from monomers called plasticizers. Unfortunately, due to specificity of large-scale production many molecules of plasticizer remain unbound in the plastic structure. Therefore, they are released over time and penetrate the drinks and food stored in plastic packaging and then contaminate our organisms. Despite the fact that they can penetrate through the skin or be inhaled, the contaminated drinks and food the main way of human exposure to plasticizers. The chemical structure of plasticizers is similar to steroid hormones, the natural control factors produced in our body.

Skip to 2 minutes and 57 secondsMaybe they are not identical but their similarity is strong enough to cause some interference in the processes controlled by these hormones. And of course, in contrast to natural hormones, their influx in to the human body is completely random. The key part of hormonal control are receptors. They are usually protein structures with affinity to hormone molecules. After binding of hormone receptors can trigger specific sequence of biochemical events. The same hormones often have more than one type of the receptor. They are located in different tissues or can be a part of different biochemical control pathways, thus extending the range of hormone activity. The molecules similar to hormones may act in two

Skip to 3 minutes and 50 secondsdifferent ways: as agonists or antagonists. Agonistic way of acting means that after binding to the receptor a molecules activate the same sequence of biochemical events and its effect is similar to genuine hormone. However, when the binding of the molecule to the receptor leads to its blockage without triggering any further steps of hormonal regulation pathway we are dealing then with antagonistic way of action of the molecule. The molecules of plasticizers can either act as agonists or antagonists of steroid hormones, depends on receptor type or tissue specificity. Disrupting action of plasticizers molecules was postulated with reference to infertility development.

Skip to 4 minutes and 40 secondsIt was shown that they cause estrus cycle dysregulation, decrease sperm quality and its fertilizing potential, as well as negatively affect the development of the fetus during pregnancy. Now we know that their negative effects are not limited only to fertility disorder. They can also interfere other physiological processes such as brain development, bone metabolism, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes development or even stimulate breast ovarian and prostatic tumorigenesis. To conclude, we can say that plastics are cheap, easy to form and extremely durable. It is not possible to eliminate them from our surroundings. For many of us it would be as a return to the stone age.

Skip to 5 minutes and 35 secondsHowever, it should be remembered that they are not as biochemically indifferent as it once seemed and they can be a source of endocrine disrupting chemicals potentially harmful to our organism. Since digestive system is the main entrance for endocrine disrupting compounds to our body, we should try to reduce the contact of the food or drinks with plastic containers to the minimum to avoid their contamination. High quality of food can be diminished by materials used for packaging and storage.

Neuroendocrine homeostasis and endocrine-disrupting compounds

This video shows connections between endocrine-disrupting compounds present in our diet and maintenance of neuroendocrine homeostasis.

Jan Czerniecki discusses how the development of new technologies and new food packaging and storing materials made of plastic affects hormonal homeostasis. Some examples of disrupting effects of plasticizers on our body, including the neuroendocrine system, are also given.

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