Hormonal activation of the androgen receptor plays a critical role in male fetal sex differentiation.
Current hypotheses concerning estrogen/androgen balance and the role of estrogenic environmental contaminants have led us to investigate the capacity for androgenic/antiandrogenic activity in such chemicals. We have previously developed a sensitive in vitro assay using a telomerase-immortalised human cell line capable of detecting putative endocrine disrupting activity in test chemicals. The assay system is flexible and can also be applied to estrogen/antiestrogen research.
Detection of antiandrogenic activity in our system was confirmed with the known antiandrogens Flutamide and Bisphenol A, in the 1 nanomolar to 100 micromolar concentration range. We have screened a range of concentrations of a number of chemicals, to which humans are commonly exposed. These include cosmetics (sunscreens), phytoestrogens and ubiquitous environmental contaminants, amongst which we have observed a range of responses, including androgenic and antiandrogenic activity.
These studies complement an ongoing Cambridge Baby Growth study, which is designed to assess genetic and environmental influences on postnatal growth and male reproductive health.
24 - 26 Mar 2003
British Endocrine Societies