Certain groups of environmentally prevalent pollutants can disrupt the homeostasis of the endocrine system and cause hormonal disbalance. These substances are known as endocrine disruptors (EDs). Exposure to EDs can result in physiological abnormalities and increased incidences of diseases such as cancer, metabolic syndrome, obesity, neurological dysfunctions, infertility, autoimmune thyroid diseases, and others. Substances like flame retardants, phthalates, bisphenols, polyfluorinated substances, etc., with endocrine disruptive potential, are present in a variety of products for daily use (e.g., furniture, clothes, cosmetics, etc.) as well as in the environment.
In the last decades, growing attention has been focused on the role of TH regulation during fetal development, especially in terms of neural tissue differentiation and development. Developmental exposure to environmental factors (EDs) that interfere with thyroid hormone function or signaling can cause harmful effects on brain development manifesting in pathologies such as cretinism, the Allan-Herndon-Dudley Syndrome, and periventricular leukomalacia. The resulting congenital hypothyroidism most likely causes myelin abnormalities and aberrant neuronal differentiation and function.
The goal of this project is to study the influence of TH disruption on neurodevelopmental in vitro test systems based on human neural progenitor cells (hNPCs). Neural cells are especially sensitive to TH imbalance during development.