Endocrine disruption is of serious concern within the chemical industry, due to potential adverse effects on the environment and on the general population. Developmental, reproductive, neurological and immune based disorders, as well as conditions such as cancer, diabetes and obesity have all been linked to endocrine disruption. Chemicals which specifically disrupt the androgen receptor (AR) can lead to reduced sperm count, infertility, prostate cancer and interference with normal male reproductive development.
Screening for endocrine disruptors is important in mitigating the risk, and a number of in vitro assays are now available for this purpose. One approach uses fluorescently tagged proteins and high content imaging to monitor activation of the androgen receptor via translocation from the cytoplasm to the nucleus. This androgen receptor modulation assay provides an in-depth analysis of the cellular processes involved in endocrine disruption, and can be used to detect and distinguish between both AR agonists and antagonists.
Although endocrine disruption is clearly a safety issue in many situations, it is important to note that not all endocrine disruptors are detrimental. For example, androgen receptor antagonists can be used as a treatment for prostate cancer. Therefore, the androgen receptor modulation assay has a utility in drug discovery screening of new pharmaceuticals, in addition to chemical safety testing.
Learn more about the androgen receptor modulation assay.