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Review
. 2004;45(4):438-42.
doi: 10.1093/ilar.45.4.438.

Animal Models and Studies of in Utero Endocrine Disruptor Effects

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Review

Animal Models and Studies of in Utero Endocrine Disruptor Effects

John G Vandenbergh. ILAR J. .

Abstract

The rate of organ and system development in mammals, including humans, is most rapid during the prenatal period. Perturbations of the endocrine system during this period can have profound effects on later anatomy, physiology, behavior, and the onset of disease. Endocrine-disrupting compounds can cause perturbations during fetal development by mimicking or blocking natural hormones. In experimental studies, compounds that mimic estrogens and those that block androgen action have been shown to have a number of long-term effects. Among these effects are the acceleration of puberty onset, increased incidence of adult cancers such as vaginal and prostate cancers, and alterations in sexually dimorphic anatomy, physiology, and behavior. Laboratory animal models continue to play a crucial role in identifying endocrine disruptors, determining their mode of action, and demonstrating their consequences.

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