Endocrine-Disrupting Effects of Pesticides through Interference with Human Glucocorticoid Receptor.
Environ Sci Technol. 2016 Jan 5 ;50(1):435-43. Epub 2015 Dec 22. PMID: 26647222
Many pesticides have been identified as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) due to their ability to bind sex-steroid hormone receptors. However, little attention has been paid to the ability of pesticides to interfere with other steroid hormone receptors such as glucocorticoid receptor (GR) that plays a critical role in metabolic, endocrine, immune, and nervous systems. In this study, the glucocorticoidic and antiglucocorticoidic effects of 34 pesticides on human GR were investigated using luciferase reporter gene assay. Surprisingly, none of the test chemicals showed GR agonistic activity, but 12 chemicals exhibited apparent antagonistic effects. Bifenthrin,λ-cyhalothrin, cypermethrin, resmethrin, o,p'-DDT, p,p'-DDT, methoxychlor, ethiofencarb, and tolylfluanid showed remarkable GR antagonistic properties with RIC20 values lower than 10(-6) M. The disruption of glucocorticoid-responsive genes in H4IIE and J774A.1 cells was further evaluated on these 12 GR antagonists. In H4IIEcells, four organochlorine insecticides, bifenthrin, and 3-PBA decreased cortisol-induced PEPCK gene expression, while o,p'-DDT and methoxychlor inhibited cortisol-stimulated Arg and TAT gene expression. Cypermethrin and tolyfluanid attenuated cortisol-induced TAT expression. In J774A.1 cells, λ-cyhalothrin, resmethrin, 3-PBA, o,p'-DDT, p,p'-DDT, p,p'-DDE, methoxychlor- and tolylfluanid-reduced cortisol-stimulated GILZ expression. Furthermore, molecular docking simulation indicated that different interactions may stabilize the binding between molecules and GR. Our findings suggest that comprehensive screening and evaluation of GR antagonists and agonists should be considered to better understand the health and ecological risks of man-made chemicals such as pesticides.