Ingemar Pongratz Field of Study
The research conducted by Ingemar Pongratz is centered around how living organisms transmit and translate information from the environment into cells. Living organisms, from the smallest bacteria to complex multicellular animals and humans share a common need to sense the changes in the environment and also to respond to these changes by adapting the enzymatic activity of relevant proteins. These enzymatic changes include adaptations to changing nutrient availability, the normal day-night cycle, developmental cues and exposure to man-made chemicals.
In a modern society chemicals are a part of everyday life for most people. In fact, a recent European survey has identified that an average consumer may be exposed to up to 10,000 different chemicals every on a daily basis. However, the potential health implications of this exposure have not been surveyed for the vast majority of the different compounds that are utilized today.
Among the different chemicals used today, a very large number of these compounds have the ability to interfere with cellular signalling pathways regulated by intracellular receptors that belong to the Nuclear Receptor (NR) superfamily, so called Endocrine Disruptive Chemicals. Endocrine Disruptive Chemicals (EDC) include both environmental pollutants and also compounds utlized in large quantities for industrial purposes today.
Ingemar Pongratz on the Effects of EDCs
Nuclear receptors regulate key endogenous signalling pathways which are critically involved in cellular development, growth, and differentiation. When cells and organs are exposed to hormones or EDCs, these compounds bind to nuclear receptor and induce a cascade of events which regulate cell function. However, while hormonal regulation is characterized by a well organized and carefully timed release of hormones, exposure to EDC is not regulated and subsequent NR activation occurs out of context.
This out of context activation can in turn lead to disease development and numerous studies have linked EDC exposure to diseases like cancer, obesity, diabetes and reproductive problems just to mention a few.
Ingemar Pongratz has focused his research on these topics and related matters involving EDCs.