[en] Natural hormones and some synthetic chemicals spread into our surrounding environment share the capacity to interact with hormone action and metabolism. Exposure to such compounds can cause a variety of developmental and reproductive detrimental abnormalities in wildlife species and, potentially, in human. Many experimental and epidemiological data have reported that exposure of the developing fetus or neonate to environmentally relevant concentrations of some among these endocrine disrupters induces morphological, biochemical and/or physiological disorders in brain and reproductive organs, by interfering with the hormone actions. The impact of such exposures on the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis and subsequent sexual maturation is the subject of the present review. We will highlight epidemiological human studies and the effects of early exposure during gestational, perinatal or postnatal life in female rodents. (c) 2006 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.
Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique (Communauté française de Belgique) - F.R.S.-FNRS ; Commission européenne : Direction générale de la Recherche ; Belgian Study Group for Pediatric Endocrinology