Mycoestrogens in Girls’ Growth and Development.
Elisa V. Bandera1,2,3, Urmila Chandran1,2,3, Brian Buckley4, Yong Lin1,2, Sastry Isukapalli4, Ian Marshall3, Melony King2, and Helmut Zarbl1,4.
The Cancer Institute of New Jersey1, UMDNJ School of Public Health2, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School3, Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences Institute4
Despite extensive research and interest in endocrine disruptors, the role of estrogenic mycotoxins or mycoestrogens, such as zeranol and zearalenone, has received little attention in human studies. Zearalenone mycoestrogens are present in grains and other plant foods through fungal contamination, and in animal products (meat, eggs, dairy products) through direct administration of zeranol during meat production or indirect contamination of animals after consumption of contaminated feedstuff. Zeranol has been banned for use in animal husbandry in the European Union and other countries, but is still widely used in the US. Surprisingly, little is known about the health effects of these mycoestrogens, including their impact on puberty in girls, a period highly sensitive to estrogenic stimulation and critical to future breast cancer risk. We conducted a cross-sectional analysis among 163 girls, aged 9 and 10 years, participating in the Jersey Girl Study to measure urinary mycoestrogens and their possible relationship to body size and development. Mycoestrogens were detectable in urine of approximately 79% of the girls, and urinary levels were predominantly associated with beef and popcorn intake. Furthermore, girls with detectable urinary ZEA mycoestrogen levels tended to be shorter and less likely to have reached the onset of breast development. Our findings suggest that ZEA mycoestrogens may exert anti-estrogenic effects similar to those reported for isoflavones. To our knowledge, this was the first evaluation of urinary mycoestrogens and their potential health effects in healthy girls. However, our findings need replication in larger studies, using a longitudinal approach.
Funding was provided by the Cancer Institute of New Jersey, Komen Foundation Central and South Jersey Affiliate, New Jersey Commission on Cancer Research, NIEHS P30ES005022, and NIH-K22CA138563