Scientists from Inserm, the University of Montpellier and the CNRS are publishing a study in the specialized journal PNAS that helps to better understand the harmful effects of endocrine disorders when combined. Known as the “cocktail effect”, is accused of being involved in the onset of cancer or even infertility.
The Montpellier teams led by Inserm researchers William Bourguet and Patrick Balaguer, at the Structural Biology Center of Inserm / CNRS / University of Montpellier and at the Research Institute of Oncology (Inserm / University of Montpellier) continued their relentless pursuit to “the cocktail effect “of endocrine disruptors.
They disrupt physiological mechanisms
The mechanism is well known: these environmental pollutants, which can contain drug residues, pesticides, chemical combinations in cosmetics and food products, become even more toxic to health by being associated in particularly harmful combinations. By attaching to receptors present in the body, they disrupt physiological mechanisms and are involved in the appearance of cancer, early puberty, decreased fertility …
Five years after the publication of the first study on the subject, residents of Montpellier “continue to decipher the molecular mechanisms that contribute to this phenomenon”, indicates Inserm, the study has just been published in the specialized journal PNAS.
They work towards the same goal as in 2015: a receptor present in the nucleus of cells, called PXR, which controls the expression of various genes involved in the regulation of physiological functions. The researchers examined the interactions of this receptor with 13 endocrine disruptors, which they combined, as well as their influence on the activity of the receptor and the effect on the expression of the genes that control it.
Using artificial intelligence
They discovered that unexpected combinations of molecules can form. Some of them would make it possible to increase the quantity of disruptors that are fixed on the cell and the toxicity of these endocrine disruptors.
The studies, conducted in vitro, in the laboratory, and on animal models, “allow, at this stage, not to predict the real impact of these associations on human health”, specifies William Bourguet, who hopes to one day predict the effects on the health of cocktails of endocrine disruptors, currently still “very troublesome”: “We are working on this by associating artificial intelligence with our algorithms”, states William Bourguet.