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European drive to validate in vitro methods for the detection of thyroid disruptors

Male thyroid anatomy Male thyroid anatomy
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Jul 04 2017

The JRC's EURL ECVAM has launched a validation study to assess in vitro methods for the detection of chemicals which disrupt thyroid function.

There is global concern about substances, natural and man-made, which have the potential to interfere with the endocrine system.

The thyroid’s main role in the endocrine system is to regulate metabolism through the action of thyroid hormone, by extracting iodine from the blood and incorporating it into thyroid hormones.

Cells and human body systems depend on the thyroid to manage their metabolism and for regulating vital body functions, including breathing, heart rate, central and peripheral nervous systems, body weight, muscle strength, menstrual cycles, body temperature and cholesterol levels.

Some man-made chemicals have the potential to interfere with the functioning of the thyroid and related hormone signalling processes which can result in adverse health effects in humans and other organisms that have been sufficiently exposed.

A total of 17 in vitro methods have been identified by EURL ECVAM as candidates for this validation study which will be carried out in collaboration with the European Union Network of Laboratories for the Validation of Alternative Methods (EU-NETVAL).

Those methods which perform well may be selected for further assessment with a view to their eventual use in a regulatory context, in support of EU initiatives to address the potential risks to human health and the environment posed by endocrine disruptors.