Mechanisms of action of agrochemicals acting as endocrine disrupting chemicals

Genoa R. Warner, Vasiliki E. Mourikes, Alison M. Neff, Emily Brehm, Jodi A. Flaws

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Agrochemicals represent a significant class of endocrine disrupting chemicals that humans and animals around the world are exposed to constantly. Agrochemicals can act as endocrine disrupting chemicals through a variety of mechanisms. Recent studies have shown that several mechanisms of action involve the ability of agrochemicals to mimic the interaction of endogenous hormones with nuclear receptors such as estrogen receptors, androgen receptors, peroxisome proliferator activated receptors, the aryl hydrocarbon receptor, and thyroid hormone receptors. Further, studies indicate that agrochemicals can exert toxicity through non-nuclear receptor-mediated mechanisms of action. Such non-genomic mechanisms of action include interference with peptide, steroid, or amino acid hormone response, synthesis and degradation as well as epigenetic changes (DNA methylation and histone modifications). This review summarizes the major mechanisms of action by which agrochemicals target the endocrine system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number110680
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
StatePublished - Feb 15 2020
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology


  • Endocrine disruptor
  • Epigenetics
  • Hormone
  • Non-genomic signaling
  • Nuclear receptor


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