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Estrogenic activity of cadmium, copper and zinc in the yeast estrogen screen

Denier, Xavier; Hill, Elisabeth M.; Rotchell, Jeanette; Minier, Christophe


Xavier Denier

Elisabeth M. Hill

Christophe Minier


Heavy metals are increasingly studied due to their apparent ability to disrupt signaling pathways of living organisms including humans. Among various mechanisms of action, metals are suspected of exerting estrogenic activity in human and wildlife. In this study, a wide range of concentration of cadmium, copper, lead, mercury and zinc (from 95.4 pM to 1 mM) alone or in combination with the natural estrogen, 17-β estradiol, has been tested using the yeast estrogen screen, an estrogen receptor dependent transcriptional expression assay. No direct trans-activation of the estrogen-responsive element could be measured with any of the concentration of the metals tested. Nevertheless, cadmium, copper and zinc were able to potentiate the estradiol-induced response in a dose-dependent manner. Significant stimulation was obtained from 10 nM cadmium, 100 nM copper and 2 nM zinc. Maximum response led to decrease of the estradiol EC50 by a factor 10. This study indicates that cadmium, copper and zinc can act as potential endocrine disrupters by modulating the estrogenic activity of endogenous hormones. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Denier, X., Hill, E. M., Rotchell, J., & Minier, C. (2009). Estrogenic activity of cadmium, copper and zinc in the yeast estrogen screen. Toxicology in Vitro, 23(4), 569-573.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 9, 2009
Online Publication Date Jan 18, 2009
Publication Date 2009-06
Print ISSN 0887-2333
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 23
Issue 4
Pages 569-573
Keywords Heavy metals Cadmium YES Estrogen receptor Endocrine disrupter trout oncorhynchus-mykiss breast-cancer cells receptor chemicals replacement finger metals assay
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