Endocrine Disruptors; Animals; Endocrine Disruptors/toxicity; Female; Humans; Male; Obesity/chemically induced/epidemiology/genetics; Puberty; Puberty, Precocious/chemically induced/epidemiology/genetics; Sexual Maturation; GnRH; epigenetics; hypothalamus; pubertal timing; secular trend
[en] Sexual maturation in humans is characterized by a unique individual variability. Pubertal onset is a highly heritable polygenic trait but it is also affected by environmental factors such as obesity or endocrine disrupting chemicals. The last 30 years have been marked by a constant secular trend toward earlier age at onset of puberty in girls and boys around the world. More recent data, although more disputed, suggest an increased incidence in idiopathic central precocious puberty. Such trends point to a role for environmental factors in pubertal changes. Animal data suggest that the GnRH-neuronal network is highly sensitive to endocrine disruption during development. This review focuses on the most recent data regarding secular trend in pubertal timing as well as potential new epigenetic mechanisms explaining the developmental and transgenerational effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals on pubertal timing.