An Emerging Role of micro-RNA in the Effect of the Endocrine Disruptors

Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are diverse natural and synthetic chemicals that may alter various mechanisms of the endocrine system and produce adverse developmental, reproductive, metabolic, and neurological effects in both humans and wildlife. Research on EDCs has revealed that they use a variety of both nuclear receptor-mediated and non-receptor-mediated mechanisms to modulate different components of the endocrine system. The molecular mechanisms underlying the effects of EDCs are still under investigation. Interestingly, some of the effects of EDCs have been observed to pass on to subsequent unexposed generations, which can be explained by the gametic transmission of deregulated epigenetic marks. Epigenetics is the study of heritable changes in gene expression that occur without a change in the DNA sequence. Epigenetic mechanisms, including histone modifications, DNA methylation, and specific micro-RNAs (miRNAs) expression, have been proposed to mediate transgenerational transmission and can be triggered by environmental factors. MiRNAs are short non-coding RNA molecules that post-transcriptionally repress the expression of genes by binding to 3′-untranslated regions of the target mRNAs. Given that there is mounting evidence that miRNAs are regulated by hormones, then clearly it is important to investigate the potential for environmental EDCs to deregulate miRNA expression and action.

Authors: Derghal A, Djelloul M, Trouslard J, Mounien L. ;Full Source: Frontiers in Neuroscience. 2016 Jun 30; 10:318. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2016.00318. eCollection 2016. ;