Biology: The Unity and Diversity o...

15th Edition
Cecie Starr + 3 others
ISBN: 9781337408332



Biology: The Unity and Diversity o...

15th Edition
Cecie Starr + 3 others
ISBN: 9781337408332
Textbook Problem

Endocrine disruptors can interfere with biological processes by mimicking hormones, activating or blocking the body’s hormone receptors, disrupting the synthesis of hormones, or altering their breakdown. How are these mechanisms or action similar to those of the psychoactive drugs that act at synapses?

Summary Introduction

To explain: How the mechanisms of action of endocrine disruptors are similar to psychoactive drugs.

Concept introduction:  There are some chemicals that mimic another substance and interfere with the normal function of our body. Some natural or man-made chemicals that mimic and interfere with the function of the endocrine system are called as endocrine disruptors. Similarly, the psychoactive drug is a drug or a chemical substance that could mimic neurotransmitters, directly act upon the central nervous system (CNS), and alters the brain functions.


Mechanism of action of psychoactive drugs is similar to endocrine disruptors. Endocrine disruptors can be natural or foreign substances that mimic like activators and inhibitor molecules and disrupt normal hormonal activities in the body. One such chemical is bisphenol A (BPA) that mimics like natural estrogen hormone and have an endocrine disrupting and diabetogenic activity. BPA activates the estrogen receptor present in the pancreatic cells and disrupts the insulin secretion.

Similarly, psychoactive drugs mimic a neurotransmitter (chemical messengers produced by neurons) otherwise it interferes with its production and signaling. For example, a psychoactive drug like nicotine mimics acetylcholine (neurotransmitter) and activates the cell receptor for acetylcholine production and release...

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