Endocrine Disruptors and Emerging Contaminants

Principal Investigator:
Miguel Santos

The main aim of EDEC group is to improve environmental risk assessment of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) and emerging pollutants (EPs) in aquatic ecosystems, developing new methodologies to assess their effects. Addressing the impact of deep-sea mining and accidental marine spills are also current research aims. The group uses a multi-parametric approach that combines molecular biology, modeling and bioinformatics, ecological modeling, biochemical tools, and population relevant endpoints such as embryonic development bioassays, full life-cycle and multi and transgenerational assays. We aim to understand the mechanisms of toxicity of EDCs and EPs, single and in mixtures, and their impact in the aquatic ecosystems. We are particularly interested in understanding the transgenerational effects of EDCs and EPs and the underlying chemical’s mode of action (MOA). We use ecological modeling to project the ecological costs associated with chemical exposure. Linking adverse-effects endpoints of EDCs and EPs with the chemical’s mode of action (MOA) is transversal to all themes of the EDEC group. Our approach takes into consideration an evolutionary perspective thus focusing on the impact of EDCs and EPs across different phyla. Since the endocrinology and the genomic constitution of most invertebrates are poorly characterized, a parallel aim is to improve the understanding of invertebrate’s endocrinology and signaling pathways and link it with the impact of EDCs in key biological process. The group combines both field and laboratory studies


EDEC Co-PI: Raquel Ruivo 

Publications Highlights

Ruivo R., Bellenchi G.C., Chen X., Zifarelli G., Sagné C., Debacker C., Pusch M., Supplisson S., Gasnier B. (2012). Mechanism of proton/substrate coupling in the heptahelical lysosomal transporter cystinosin. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, 109(5): E210-217.

Cardoso PG, Rodrigues D, Madureira TV, Oliveira N, Rocha MJ, Rocha E (2017). Warming modulates the effects of the endocrine disruptor progestin levonorgestrel on the zebrafish fitness, ovary maturation kinetics and reproduction success. Environmental Pollution. 229: 300-311. 

Santos, M.M., Ruivo, R., Capitão, A., Fonseca, E., Castro, L.F.C. (2018). Identifying the gaps: Resources and perspectives on the use of nuclear receptor based-assays to improve hazard assessment of emerging contaminants. Journal of Hazardous Materials, 358, 508-511.

Capitão, A.M.F., Lopes-Marques, M.S., Ishii, Y., Ruivo, R., Fonseca, E.S.S., Páscoa, I., Jorge, R.P., Barbosa, M.A.G., Hiromori, Y., Miyagi, T., Nakanishi, T., Santos, M.M., Castro, L.F.C. (2018). Evolutionary Exploitation of Vertebrate Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor γ by Organotins. Environmental Science and Technology, 52 (23), 13951-13959.

Barros, S., Montes, R., Quintana, J.B., Rodil, R., André, A., Capitão, A., Soares, J., Santos, M.M., Neuparth, T. (2018). Chronic environmentally relevant levels of simvastatin disrupt embryonic development, biochemical and molecular responses in zebrafish (Danio rerio). Aquatic Toxicology, 201, 47-5.

Capela, R., Garric, J., Castro, L.F.C., Santos, M.M. (2020). Embryo bioassays with aquatic animals for toxicity testing and hazard assessment of emerging pollutants: A review. Sci. Total Environ. 705, 135740.

Soares, J., Fernandes, R., Brito, D., Oliveira, H., Neuparth, T., Martins, I., Santos, M.M. (2020). Environmental risk assessment of accidental marine spills: A new approach combining an online dynamic Hazardous and Noxious substances database with numerical dispersion, risk and population modelling. Sci Total Environ. 715, 136801.

Neuparth, T., Machado, A., Montes, R., Rodil, R., Barros, S., Alves, N., Ruivo, R., Castro, L.F.C., Quintana, J., Santos, M.M. (2020). Transgenerational inheritance of chemical-induced signature: a case study with simvastatin. Environ. Int. 144, 106020.

Pinheiro, M., Oliveira, A., Barros, S., Alves, N., Raimundo, J., Caetano, M., Coimbra, J., Neuparth, T., Santos M.M. (2021). Functional, biochemical and molecular impact of sediment plumes from deep-sea mining on Mytilus galloprovincialis under hyperbaric conditions. Environmental Research, 110753.

Torres, T., Ruivo, R., Santos, M.M. (2021). Epigenetic biomarkers as tools for chemical hazard assessment: gene expression profiling using the model Danio rerio. Sci Total Environ. 733, 144830.

Alves, N., Neuparth, T., Barros, S., Santos, M.M. (2021). The anti-lipidemic drug simvastatin modifies epigenetic biomarkers in the amphipod Gammarus locustaEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety. 209, 111849.