Endocrine-disrupting chemicals and infectious diseases: From endocrine disruption to immunosuppression

Elikanah Olusayo Adegoke, Md Saidur Rahman, Yoo Jin Park, Young Ju Kim, Myung Geol Pang

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) are hormonally active compounds in the environment that interfere with the body’s endocrine system and consequently produce adverse health effects. Despite persistent public health concerns, EDCs remain important components of common consumer products, thus representing ubiquitous contaminants to humans. While scientific evidence confirmed their contribution to the severity of Influenza A virus (H1N1) in the animal model, their roles in susceptibility and clinical outcome of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cannot be underestimated. Since its emergence in late 2019, clinical reports on COVID-19 have confirmed that severe disease and death occur in persons aged ≥65 years and those with underlying comorbidities. Major comorbidities of COVID-19 include diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, cancer, and kidney and liver diseases. Meanwhile, long-term exposure to EDCs contributes significantly to the onset and progression of these comorbid diseases. Besides, EDCs play vital roles in the disruption of the body’s immune system. Here, we review the recent literature on the roles of EDCs in comorbidities contributing to COVID-19 mortality, impacts of EDCs on the immune system, and recent articles linking EDCs to COVID-19 risks. We also recommend methodologies that could be adopted to comprehensively study the role of EDCs in COVID-19 risk.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3939
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Sciences
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was financially supported by the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), Ministry of Education (NRF-2018R1A6A1A03025159). E.O.A and M.S.R. were supported by the Brain Pool Program through the NRF (Grant No. 2019H1D3A1A01071117 and 2017H1D3A1A02013844, respectively).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • COVID-19
  • Comorbid diseases
  • Endocrine disrupting chemicals
  • Immune dysfunction


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