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University of California-San Diego

Superfund Research Program

Endocrine Disruptors in the Environment and their Influence

Project Leader: Christopher K. Glass
Grant Number: P42ES010337
Funding Period: 2000-2010

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Project Summary (2000-2005)

Human exposure to environmental pollutants has been proposed as a risk factor for endocrine disruption and the development of cancers of the breast and reproductive tract. Environmental pollutants are thought to exert effects on the endocrine system in part by influencing the activities of nuclear hormone receptors that regulate diverse aspects of growth, development and homeostasis. Some of the most common environmental pollutants found at Superfund Sites, including polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and phthalates, can bind to members of the nuclear receptor superfamily and regulate their activities. These chemicals have the potential of disrupting normal programs of endocrine regulation, resulting in disease. The goal of this multidisciplinary research project is to use recombinant DNA approaches to assess the impact of exposure to these Superfund chemicals on cellular and molecular events that affect the regulation of gene expression. Project investigators are using recent developments in the molecular biology of nuclear receptors to develop novel methods to assess effects of environmental pollutants on specific endocrine signaling pathways in transgenic mice. This approach is being developed to assess the effects of Superfund site chemicals on estrogen and peroxisome proliferator activated receptor function.

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