Signaling Mechanisms by Which Xenoestrogen Pollutants Disrupt Normal Estrogenic Signaling

May 18, 2016
1:00 pm US Eastern Time

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Speaker Slides

Cellular Signaling Mechanisms by which Xenoestrogen Pollutants Disrupt Normal Estrogenic Signaling


An example of Dr. Watson’s use of virtual world (Second Life) technologies and avatars for presenting public outreach explanations about this research field is available at this YouTube link.

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This call was hosted by the CHE EDC Strategies Partnership.

On this call, Dr. Cheryl Watson discussed the cellular mechanisms through which xenoestrogen pollutants (estrogen-like chemicals) act to disrupt normal estrogen signaling in the body. She explained how xenoestrogens act through signaling pathways in the cell—only recently appreciated—and rapid actions at the cell membrane. Xenoestrogens act as “imperfect” estrogens so their signaling patterns and functional effects differ from endogenous estrogens. But like natural estrogens they also show non-monotonic concentration dependence, meaning that small doses can sometimes cause bigger effects than big doses (which requires careful examination across even the smallest contamination levels). When mixed with physiological estrogens, they can greatly disrupt physiological functions. Because of the negative publicity about these xenoestrogens, manufacturers are now starting to substitute new chemicals for the ones we now know to be harmful, but unfortunately, they have not tested the hormonal actions of these substitutes, which are turning out to be just as bad as the chemicals they are replacing.

Featured Speaker

Cheryl S. Watson, PhD, is a professor in biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Texas Medical Branch. She is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Endocrine Disruptors. She received her PhD in cell biology from Baylor College of Medicine and completed postdoctoral work at the National Institute of Medical Research in London and the Population Council at Rockefeller University. Dr. Watson has also pioneered the use of virtual world (Second Life) technologies and avatars for presenting public outreach explanations about this research field.

This teleconference call is one in a monthly series sponsored by the Collaborative on Health and the Environment’s EDC Strategies Group. The CHE EDC Strategies Partnership is chaired by Carol Kwiatkowski (TEDX), Sharyle Patton (Commonweal), and Genon Jensen (HEAL). To see a full list of past calls in the series and listen to the MP3 recordings please visit the CHE-EDC Strategies Partnership Page.

The call was moderated by Carol Kwiatkowski, the Executive Director of TEDX. The call lasted 30 min and was recorded.