Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDs) are known as compounds which exert adverse effects by interfering with hormone-related signalling pathways. The concept of endocrine disruption has recently been extended to metabolic alterations which may result in diseases such as obesity, diabetes and fatty liver disease, which constitute an increasing health concern worldwide. The EDCMET project coordinated by the University of Eastern Finland has secured Horizon 2020 funding to study the metabolic effects of endocrine disruptors.
Currently, there are no validated methods to assess the metabolic effects of EDs. To address this unmet need and other gaps in the context of ED testing, the European Union has funded eight projects on the overarching topic ‘New testing and screening methods to identify endocrine disrupting chemicals’ within the Horizon 2020 (H2020) framework. One of those projects is EDCMET (‘Metabolic effects of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals: novel testing METhods and adverse outcome pathways’). The project is running from 01/01/2019 until 12/31/2023 and is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Anna-Liisa Levonen from the University of Eastern Finland. Project partners from eight European countries will contribute to achieving the scientific goals of EDCMET.
The objective of the EDCMET project is to develop validated in silico, in vitro and in vivo methods assessing metabolic effects of EDs, with a focus on energy and fat metabolism and nuclear receptors regulating these processes. Thorough understanding of the mechanisms leading to adverse metabolic effects of Eds is presently lacking. EDCMET will apply the adverse outcome pathway (AOP) paradigm to identify molecular initiating events (MIE) and predict the emergent adverse biological phenotype. The project brings together scientists with different expertise to meet the common goal to improve the currently available testing methods. EDCMET utilizes a wide variety of methodologies, ranging from computational methods, cell culture systems and up-to-date animal models, to epidemiological data, in order to associate the exposure to chemicals to ED-related metabolic effects.
At the University of Eastern Finland, also the research groups led by Professor Jorma J. Palvimo, Professor Paavo Honkakoski, Associate Professor Jaana Rysä and Assistant Professor Vittorio Fortino will also take part in the EDCMET project. They will be involved in several scientific work packages, including identification of mechanisms of action of EDs in silico, development of ED screening methods using reporter assays, in vitro metabolic profiling of EDs and multi-omics analyses for ED-related AOP refinement and development, development of in vivo models to assess metabolic effects of EDs, and the search for biomarkers for ED exposure from human samples.
For further information, please contact:
Professor Anna-Liisa Levonen, University of Eastern Finland, A.I. Virtanen Institute, tel. +358403589907, anna-liisa.levonen(at)uef.fi