Article

Estrogenic environmental chemicals and drugs: Mechanisms for effects on the developing male urogenital system

Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA.
The Journal of steroid biochemistry and molecular biology (Impact Factor: 4.05). 07/2011; 127(1-2):83-95. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsbmb.2011.07.005
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Development and differentiation of the prostate from the fetal urogenital sinus (UGS) is dependent on androgen action via androgen receptors (AR) in the UGS mesenchyme. Estrogens are not required for prostate differentiation but do act to modulate androgen action. In mice exposure to exogenous estrogen during development results in permanent effects on adult prostate size and function, which is mediated through mesenchymal estrogen receptor (ER) alpha. For many years estrogens were thought to inhibit prostate growth because estrogenic drugs studied were administered at very high concentrations that interfered with normal prostate development. There is now extensive evidence that exposure to estrogen at very low concentrations during the early stages of prostate differentiation can stimulate fetal/neonatal prostate growth and lead to prostate disease in adulthood. Bisphenol A (BPA) is an environmental endocrine disrupting chemical that binds to both ER receptor subtypes as well as to AR. Interest in BPA has increased because of its prevalence in the environment and its detection in over 90% of people in the USA. In tissue culture of fetal mouse UGS mesenchymal cells, BPA and estradiol stimulated changes in the expression of several genes. We discuss here the potential involvement of estrogen in regulating signaling pathways affecting cellular functions relevant to steroid hormone signaling and metabolism and to inter- and intra-cellular communications that promote cell growth. The findings presented here provide additional evidence that BPA and the estrogenic drug ethinylestradiol disrupt prostate development in male mice at administered doses relevant to human exposures.

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