e.hormone is a central conduit providing accurate, timely information and educational resources at the cutting edge of environmental signaling research. The site is part of the Environmental Signaling Network (ESN), a multifaceted program that aims to integrate the vast interdisciplinary signaling field by fostering communication and promoting scientific advancements.
Environmental signaling encompasses the many ways plants and animals use chemical signals to communicate life-driving information, to respond to physical or biological stimuli, and to talk to each other. The internal and external signals police interactions within and between cells and organs as well as among individuals and species. Sometimes, certain natural compounds and synthetic chemicals incorrectly trigger signaling mechanisms – turning them on and off at the wrong times or changing signal intensity that may affect reproduction and health. Endocrine disruption is one of the most studied areas of inadvertent environmental signaling.
Endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), also known as Endocrine Disrupters – pesticides, plasticizers, pharmaceuticals, and other pollutants that interfere with estrogen and other hormone system signals – can affect cells to ecosystems and invertebrates to vertebrates. Humans and animals are exposed to EDCs through food, water, and air and can experience health effects ranging from subtle changes in blood hormone levels to overt reproductive abnormalities, infertility, and cancer. Facing the most risk are women of childbearing age, due to increased exposure through lifestyle choices, and infants and children, due to their small size, higher exposure, and fast growth.
Original support for e.hormone web site was provided by the W. Alton Jones Foundation in 1995. Subsequent funding from the Office of Naval Research, the National Science Foundation, and the Department of Energy is gratefully acknowledged. Current support derives from the Weatherhead Foundation and the Department of Pharmacology, Tulane University School of Medicine.
The original site design and concept were crafted by John McLachlan and John Vassilopoulos in collaboration with Lou Guillette while he was on sabbatical leave in the Environmental Signaling Group at Tulane University. An informal advisory group over the years has also included, Tyrone Hayes, Wendy Hessler, Taisen Iguchi, Christopher McLachlan, and William Toscano.