Immunomodulatory effects of synthetic endocrine disrupting chemicals on the development and functions of human immune cells

Environ Int. 2019 Apr;125:350-364. doi: 10.1016/j.envint.2019.01.078. Epub 2019 Feb 8.


Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are added to food, cosmetics, plastic packages, and children's toys and have thus become an integral part of the human environment. In the last decade, there has been increasing interest in the effect of EDCs on human health, including their impact on the immune system. So far, researchers have proved that EDCs (e.g. bisphenols, phthalates, triclosan, phenols, propanil, tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, diethylstilbestrol, tributyltin (TBT), and parabens) affect the development, functions, and lifespan of immune cells (e.g., monocytes, neutrophils, mast cells, eosinophils, lymphocytes, dendritic cells, and natural killers). In this review, we have summarized the current knowledge of the multivariable influence of EDCs on immune cells and underlined the novel approach to EDC studies, including dose-dependent effects and low-dose effects. We discuss critically the possible relationship between exposure to EDCs and immunity related diseases (e.g. allergy, asthma, diabetes, and lupus). Moreover, based on the literature, we construct a model of possible mechanisms of EDC action on immune cells at cellular, molecular, and epigenetic levels.

Keywords: Bisphenol a; EDC; Immunology system; Immunotoxicity; Lymphocyte; Monocyte.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Endocrine Disruptors / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Immune System / drug effects*
  • Immunologic Factors / toxicity*


  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Immunologic Factors