Posted on Jul 06, 2012, 6 a.m.
Exposure to low doses of Bisphenol A (BPA) during gestation has immediate and long-lasting, trans-generational effects on the brain and social behaviors, in a lab animal model.
Bisphenol A (BPA) is a man-made chemical present in a variety of products including food containers, receipt paper and dental sealants and is now widely detected in human urine and blood. Public health concerns have been fueled by findings that BPA exposure can influence brain development. In mice, prenatal exposure to BPA is associated with increased anxiety, aggression and cognitive impairments. Emilie Rissman, from the University of Virginia School of Medicine (Virginia, USA), and colleaguesfed female mice chow with or without BPA before mating and throughout gestation. Plasma levels of BPA in supplemented female mice were in a range similar to those measured in humans. Juveniles in the first generation exposed to BPA in utero displayed fewer social interactions as compared with control mice. The changes in genes were most dramatic in the first generation (the offspring of the mice that were exposed to BPA in utero), but some of these gene changes persisted into the fourth generation. Observing that: “exposure to a low dose of BPA, only during gestation, has immediate and long-lasting, transgenerational effects on mRNA in brain and social behaviors,” the study authors conclude that: “Heritable effects of an endocrine-disrupting chemical have implications for complex neurological diseases and highlight the importance of considering gene-environment interactions in the etiology of complex disease.”
Jennifer T. Wolstenholme, Michelle Edwards, Savera R. J. Shetty, Jessica D. Gatewood, Julia A. Taylor, Emilie F. Rissman, et al. “Gestational Exposure to Bisphenol A Produces Transgenerational Changes in Behaviors and Gene Expression.” Endocrinology en.2012-1195.