Epigenetic Mechanism of Hormonal and Endocrine Disruption
Endocrine disruptors (EDs) are linked with endocrine disorders, cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and degenerative brain disorders. Exposure can occur over a lifetime and be transmitted across generations. A key mechanism of action of EDs is through their epigenetic effects on cells that results in the altered activity of genes. My talk will describe three main cellular processes by which EDs exert their effects to cause disease. These include methylation and acetylation of genes and of histones, and the effects of non-coding RNA. Examples of two EDs will be described, including bisphenol A used in the production of plastics, causing breast cancer, and mercury a global contaminant produced from coal-burning that impairs brain function. A third example will illustrate the epigenetic effects caused by lifestyle factors in type 2 diabetes. Personal strategies to minimize exposure to EDs will be discussed.