Program "Promis" DecodExpo project

Farmaceutski fakultet

Acronym: DecodExpo

Title: Decoding the role of exposome in endocrine health

Total Budget: 186,522.28 EUR 

Worldwide mortality is substantially impacted by non-communicable diseases resulting from the combined effects of the human genome and exposome which represents all exposures of an individual that begin before birth and include insults from environmental and occupational sources. In spite of the view of scientific community that genetics loads the gun while the environment pulls the trigger the data on detailed characterization of the exposome as opposed to human genome sequencing are still scarce. Importantly, over the past few decades, exposure to Endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) has emerged as a leading cause of disease, morbidity and health impairment in human populations worldwide. The confirmed and suspected human diseases spectrum connected to EDCs exposure is wide (obesity, diabetes mellitus, female and male reproduction disturbances, thyroid gland disorders, hormone-sensitive cancers, neurodevelopmental disorders, etc.). Recent projections indicate that EDCs exposure contributes substantially to disease and dysfunction costs across the life course in the hundreds of billions of Euros per year.

The DecodExpo project aims to provide scientific evidence for proposing the exact role of toxic metals mixtures, as an important exposome fragments, in endocrine disorders development. The project encompasses human biomonitoring (HBM) study, exposome-wide-association study (EWAS) and animal study. Namely, HBM-based EWAS will collect data on internal levels of toxic metals in different cohort groups and seek to discover ED features that can be linked to causal exposures. The study protocol chosen for animal study takes into consideration the realistic scenario of prolonged exposure to low doses of chemical mixtures. Chemical doses will be reflective of the levels obtained in HBM study which will allow simulation of everyday exposure of general population to multiple toxic metals (As, Pb, Hg, Cd, Cr, and Ni). Testing various endpoints (such as endocrine disruption, neurotoxicity, oxidative stress, etc.) will allow collecting more information and hence, adopting a more holistic approach.

Project workflow

Principal investigator

Dr Aleksandra Buha Djordjevic, Asst Prof, University in Belgrade - Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Toxicology „Akademik Danilo Soldatović”

Members of the Project team

Dr Danijela Djukic-Cosic, Assoc Prof

Dr Evica Antonijevic, teaching assistant

Katarina Baralic, junior research assistant

Dragana Javorac, junior research assistant

Dr Zorica Bulat, Assoc Prof

University in Belgrade - Faculty of Pharmacy, Department of Toxicology „Akademik Danilo Soldatović”

Institutions collaborators to the Project

Clinical Center of Serbia, Belgrade, Serbia

Clinical-Hospital Center "Bežanijska kosa", Belgrade, Serbia

School of Medicine, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia

Health center Kosovska Mitrovica, Kosovska Mitrovica, Serbia

Serbian Institute of Occupational Health “Dr Dragomir Karajović”, Belgrade, Serbia

The DecodExpo project aims to provide better prediction of risk factors for endocrine disorders development, contribute to the development of national and international strategy and guidelines for EDCs health risk assessment, and establish further support to shift from the current single-compound oriented testing to a new era of mixture low dose toxicity testing.

The main ambition of the project is to reduce the incidence of various endocrine disorders in general population that are a direct result of EDC exposure.