PNAS highlights for the week of May 2 - 6


Estrogenic Chemicals Linked to Prostate Deformities in Mice

Male mouse fetuses exposed to estrogen-like chemicals in oral contraceptives and plastic food containers developed deformities in the urethra and prostate, researchers report.

Frederick vom Saal and colleagues tested two estrogenic chemicals: ethinylestradiol, which is found in oral contraceptives, and bisphenol A, which is found in polycarbonate plastic products and the lining of tin cans.

Research has shown that it is possible for human fetuses to be exposed to these chemicals in very low doses, the authors say. The researchers fed pregnant mice estrogenic chemicals at doses below the range pregnant women are exposed to. They found that male fetuses of the exposed pregnant mice developed more and larger ducts in their prostate and a narrowing of the urethra at the bladder neck.

These findings may have implications for humans, the authors say, especially regarding prostate cancer and bladder diseases in adult male children of exposed women. According to the authors, women who become pregnant despite using oral contraceptives may pass ethinylestradiol to their fetus. Also, the authors say that bisphenol A leaches into food and beverages under normal conditions of use in tin cans and polycarbonate plastic containers.

PNAS Special Feature: Chemical Theory and Computation

PNAS presents a collection of articles publishing online next week in PNAS Early Edition and in print on May 10, devoted to chemical theory and computation.

Over the past three decades, researchers have increasingly used computer simulations and modeling in structural biology and materials science to study molecular, protein, and fluid dynamics at a variety of scales. Exponential leaps in computing power and the development of new computational platforms have led to this research surge, in addition to innovative formulations of physical theories amenable to numerical simulation and solution.

Computational methods augment traditional physical experiments because they can give information about complex phenomena at fine scales in time and space not easily achieved in the laboratory. Furthermore, algorithms can produce reasonable numerical approximations to otherwise intractable equations of complex chemical interactions. These computations can offer insight into the physical and chemical origins of materials behavior for researchers in biological, chemical, and materials science fields.

Topics discussed in this Special Feature include ab initio quantum chemical methodology, nanomaterial simulations, protein folding and enzymatic catalysis, and molecular dynamics of water, supercooled liquids, and other biomolecular systems.


Neandertal Bone Suggests Human Competition with Hyenas
This release is also available in French

Analysis of a 40,000-year-old human femur found in France suggests that Neandertals competed with hyenas for food and shelter.

siRNA for Cancer Treatment

Small interfering RNA (siRNA) may represent a unique class of cancer chemopreventive agents.

Modern Updates to Peasant Economy Model

The cycle of development and mic

ropolitics of modern domestic groups is a useful correction to Chayanov's 1920s model of peasant economies.

Nitroglycerin Mechanism in Angina Research with dog hearts suggests that nitroglycerin helps to treat angina by reducing myocardial glucose uptake and lactate production.

Transgenic Plants for Cancer Therapy Antibodies

Genetically modified plants might be able to produce monoclonal antibodies in large quantities as a source of clinical-grade protein for cancer immunotherapy.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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