Saturday, February 09, 2008

Toxins may be linked to early puberty -

Toxins may be linked to early puberty -

Researchers in Italy suggest environmental toxins may be linked to areas where girls have a high incidence of early puberty.

The study, published in The Journal of Pediatrics, looked at whether the naturally occurring mycoestrogen zearalenone, or ZEA, produced by the Fusarium fungus species, may be linked to early onset of puberty, known as central precocious puberty.

ZEA can be found naturally in the environment, but it also has properties similar to the female reproductive hormone estrogen and is structurally similar to anabolic growth agents used in animal breeding.

The researchers studied a group of girls affected by early puberty in Tuscany -- an area with much higher than average incidence of this condition. Six of the 17 girls studied had elevated levels of ZEA.

"Although this finding might be incidental, ZEA may be related to central precocious puberty occurrence in girls exposed to mycoestrogens," lead researcher Dr. Francesco Massart said.


Fusarium is a filamentous fungus widely distributed on plants and in the soil. It is found in normal mycoflora of commodities, such as rice, bean, soybean, and other crops [1806]. While most species are more common at tropical and subtropical areas, some inhabit in soil in cold climates. Some Fusarium species have a teleomorphic state [1295, 2202].

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