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Pure Appl. Chem., 2003, Vol. 75, No. 11-12, pp. 2321-2333

Interactions of endocrine-disrupting chemicals with stress responses in wildlife

T. G. Pottinger

NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology Windermere, The Ferry House, Far Sawrey, Ambleside, Cumbria LA22 0LP, UK

Abstract: The extent to which nonreproductive aspects of the endocrine system are affected by environmental contaminants is to a large extent unknown. However, an emerging body of data demonstrates that the neuroendocrine stress response is a sensitive target for disruption by a range of environmental contaminants, at a number of discrete loci. Several mechanisms are responsible for generating and sustaining the corticosteroid response to a stressor, including synthesis of the steroid, negative feedback at the pituitary and hypothalamus, and clearance via metabolism and conjugation in peripheral tissues and the liver. Laboratory and field studies provide evidence that these elements of the stress response are susceptible to interference by EAS. The functional significance to the individual of interference with this important adaptive mechanism remains to be established.