Disruption of Androgen Receptor Signaling in Males by Environmental Chemicals
journal contributionposted on 27.05.2011, 00:00 by Doug C. Luccio-Camelo, Gail S. Prins
Androgen-disruptors are environmental chemicals that interfere with the biosynthesis, metabolism or action of endogenous androgens resulting in a deflection from normal male developmental programming and reproductive tract growth and function. Since male sexual differentiation is entirely androgen-dependent, it is highly susceptible to androgen-disruptors. Animal models and epidemiological evidence link exposure to androgen disrupting chemicals with reduced sperm counts, increased infertility, testicular dysgenesis syndrome, and testicular and prostate cancers. Further, there appears to be increased sensitivity to these agents during critical developmental windows when male differentiation is at its peak. A variety of in vitro and in silico approaches have been used to identify broad classes of androgen disrupting molecules that include organochlorinated pesticides, industrial chemicals, and plasticizers with capacity to ligand the androgen receptor. The vast majority of these synthetic molecules act as anti-androgens. This review will highlight the evidence for androgen disrupting chemicals that act through interference with the androgen receptor, discussing specific compounds for which there is documented in vivo evidence for male reproductive tract perturbations.