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      Environmental Estrogens Induce Mast Cell Degranulation and Enhance IgE-Mediated Release of Allergic Mediators


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          Prevalence and morbidity of allergic diseases have increased over the last decades. Based on the recently recognized differences in asthma prevalence between the sexes, we have examined the effect of endogenous estrogens on a key element of the allergic response. Some lipophilic pollutants have estrogen-like activities and are termed environmental estrogens. These pollutants tend to degrade slowly in the environment and to bioaccumulate and bioconcentrate in the food chain; they also have long biological half-lives.


          Our goal in this study was to identify possible pathogenic roles for environmental estrogens in the development of allergic diseases.


          We screened a number of environmental estrogens for their ability to modulate the release of allergic mediators from mast cells. We incubated a human mast cell line and primary mast cell cultures derived from bone marrow of wild type and estrogen receptor α (ER-α )–deficient mice with environmental estrogens with and without estradiol or IgE and allergens. We assessed degranulation of mast cells by quantifying the release of β -hexosaminidase.


          All of the environmental estrogens tested caused rapid, dose-related release of β -hexosaminidase from mast cells and enhanced IgE-mediated release. The combination of physiologic concentrations of 17β -estradiol and several concentrations of environmental estrogens had additive effects on mast cell degranulation. Comparison of bone marrow mast cells from ER-α –sufficient and ER-α –deficient mice indicated that much of the effect of environmental estrogens was mediated by ER-α .


          Our findings suggest that estrogenic environmental pollutants might promote allergic diseases by inducing and enhancing mast cell degranulation by physiologic estrogens and exposure to allergens.

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          Most cited references28

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          Virtual and biomolecular screening converge on a selective agonist for GPR30.

          Estrogen is a hormone critical in the development, normal physiology and pathophysiology of numerous human tissues. The effects of estrogen have traditionally been solely ascribed to estrogen receptor alpha (ERalpha) and more recently ERbeta, members of the soluble, nuclear ligand-activated family of transcription factors. We have recently shown that the seven-transmembrane G protein-coupled receptor GPR30 binds estrogen with high affinity and resides in the endoplasmic reticulum, where it activates multiple intracellular signaling pathways. To differentiate between the functions of ERalpha or ERbeta and GPR30, we used a combination of virtual and biomolecular screening to isolate compounds that selectively bind to GPR30. Here we describe the identification of the first GPR30-specific agonist, G-1 (1), capable of activating GPR30 in a complex environment of classical and new estrogen receptors. The development of compounds specific to estrogen receptor family members provides the opportunity to increase our understanding of these receptors and their contribution to estrogen biology.
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            Large effects from small exposures. I. Mechanisms for endocrine-disrupting chemicals with estrogenic activity.

            Information concerning the fundamental mechanisms of action of both natural and environmental hormones, combined with information concerning endogenous hormone concentrations, reveals how endocrine-disrupting chemicals with estrogenic activity (EEDCs) can be active at concentrations far below those currently being tested in toxicological studies. Using only very high doses in toxicological studies of EEDCs thus can dramatically underestimate bioactivity. Specifically: a) The hormonal action mechanisms and the physiology of delivery of EEDCs predict with accuracy the low-dose ranges of biological activity, which have been missed by traditional toxicological testing. b) Toxicology assumes that it is valid to extrapolate linearly from high doses over a very wide dose range to predict responses at doses within the physiological range of receptor occupancy for an EEDC; however, because receptor-mediated responses saturate, this assumption is invalid. c) Furthermore, receptor-mediated responses can first increase and then decrease as dose increases, contradicting the assumption that dose-response relationships are monotonic. d) Exogenous estrogens modulate a system that is physiologically active and thus is already above threshold, contradicting the traditional toxicological assumption of thresholds for endocrine responses to EEDCs. These four fundamental issues are problematic for risk assessment methods used by regulatory agencies, because they challenge the traditional use of extrapolation from high-dose testing to predict responses at the much lower environmentally relevant doses. These doses are within the range of current exposures to numerous chemicals in wildlife and humans. These problems are exacerbated by the fact that the type of positive and negative controls appropriate to the study of endocrine responses are not part of traditional toxicological testing and are frequently omitted, or when present, have been misinterpreted.
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              A community-based study of the epidemiology of asthma. Incidence rates, 1964-1983.

              To determine whether the incidence of asthma had increased in Rochester, Minnesota, from January 1, 1964 through December 31, 1983, we used a population-based computer-linked medical diagnosis system to identify individual medical records with diagnosis of asthma or other conditions mimicking asthma. All records were reviewed using explicit predetermined diagnostic criteria; we identified 3,622 incident cases of asthma, including definite asthma (n = 1,547), probable asthma (n = 952), and single wheezing episodes (n = 1,123). The annual age- and sex-adjusted incidence of definite + probable asthma rose from 183 per 100,000 in 1964 to 284 per 100,000 in 1983. This rise was entirely accounted for by increased incidence rates in children and adolescents (age range, 1 to 14 yr); incidence rates for infants younger than 1 yr of age and for adults remained constant. For definite + probable asthma cases, the incidence rates for males were higher than for females from infancy through 9 yr of age and for persons older than 50; incidence rates for females were higher than for males from 15 through 49 yr of age. The median age at onset was 3 yr for males and 8 yr for females. We conclude that asthma begins in early childhood, with a higher incidence and earlier onset in males, and that the increase in incidence rates seen from 1964 to 1983 occurred only in children and in adolescents.

                Author and article information

                Environ Health Perspect
                Environmental Health Perspectives
                National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
                January 2007
                3 October 2006
                : 115
                : 1
                : 48-52
                [1 ] Department of Pediatrics, Child Health Research Center and
                [2 ] Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, Texas, USA
                Author notes
                Address correspondence to T. Midoro-Horiuti, Child Health Research Center, University of Texas Medical Branch, 2.300 Children’s Hospital, 301 University Blvd., Galveston, TX 77555-0366 USA. Telephone: (409) 772-3832. Fax: (409) 772-1761. E-mail: tmidoro@ 123456utmb.edu

                The authors declare they have no competing financial interests.

                This is an Open Access article: verbatim copying and redistribution of this article are permitted in all media for any purpose, provided this notice is preserved along with the article's original DOI
                : 25 May 2006
                : 3 October 2006

                Public health
                estradiol,allergy,asthma,ige,mast cells,environmental estrogen,β-hexosaminidase,estrogen receptor α


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