Estrogens are normally produced in cyclic fashion in adult females and induce transient effects in reproductive organs, brain, and pituitary, allowing for cyclic reproductive activity. In addition, the natural pattern of estrogen secretion at puberty is responsible for changes in the body known as secondary sexual characteristics, such as hairless facial skin, breast development, and body fat distribution. Estrogens also program developmental processes resulting in permanent morphological changes such as sexually dimorphic areas of the brain or short stature in women due to closure of the epiphyseal plates of long bones. Thus, estrogens or environmental mimics of estrogen can produce permanent, heritable changes in cells and tissues, either as a natural course of gender differences or as pathological manifestations of inappropriate exposure from exogenous sources. It is because of the irreversible nature of developmental effects that special attention must be paid to the actions of environmental estrogens during embryonic and fetal stages.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||Endocrine Disruptors|
|Subtitle of host publication||Effects on Male and Female Reproductive Systems, Second Edition|
|Number of pages||31|
|ISBN (Print)||0849322812, 9780849322815|
|State||Published - Jan 1 2004|
ASJC Scopus subject areas