Investigating persistent organic pollutants as endocrine disruptors of androgen receptor signalling

  • Jonathan McComb

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Man-made chemicals are a part of everyday life and may mimic hormonal signalling in wildlife and humans. These exogenous mixtures or substances are called endocrine disrupting chemicals and may lead to adverse health effects in those exposed. Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) are a class of organic compounds that are structurally resistant to processes of degradation and thus are ubiquitous in the environment upon release. Due to their long elimination half-lives and affinity for lipid-rich tissue, POPs have a tendency to bioaccumulate, and subsequently have been detected in human tissues such as adipose, breast, placenta and blood. The overall aim of this thesis is to investigate novel human blood-based concentrations of POP mixtures and individual perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) for disrupting androgen receptor (AR) signalling.

The Total POP mixture using in this project consisted of a combination of 29 chemicals modelled on the exposure profile of a Scandinavian population and 6 sub-mixtures: brominated (Br) chlorinated (Cl), Cl + Br, PFAA, PFAA + Br, PFAA + Cl, ranging from 1/10x to 500x relative to what is found in human blood.

Thesis embargoed until 31 December 2022
Date of AwardDec 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorLisa Connolly (Supervisor) & Ian Mills (Supervisor)


  • endocrine disrupting chemical
  • persistent organic pollutant
  • androgen receptor signalling
  • reporter gene assay
  • high content analysis
  • translocation
  • mixture
  • anti-androgen
  • perfluoroalkly acid
  • brominated compound
  • chlorinated compound

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