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Your Environment. Your Health.

Transgenerational Effects from BPA Exposure

Jennifer T. Wolstenholme, Ph.D.
University of Virginia, Charlottesville
NIEHS Grant F32ES019404


An NIEHS grantee and her colleagues report that mice exposed to low doses of bisphenol A (BPA) while in the womb had immediate, as well as long-lasting, changes in the brain and social behaviors. Some of these changes persisted into the fourth generation. The researchers say that their findings have implications for complex neurological disease.


In the study, female mice received chow with or without BPA, before mating and throughout pregnancy. The levels of BPA present in the blood plasma of the female mice that received BPA were in a range similar to those measured in humans who were exposed to BPA.


The first generation offspring, which were exposed to BPA in the womb, displayed fewer social interactions compared to control mice. The researchers also found that BPA had an effect on the levels of the mRNA levels of neuropeptides vasopressin and oxytocin, which are both involved in social behaviors. Decreases in vasopressin levels were observed all the way through the fourth generation offspring.


Citation: Wolstenholme JT, Edwards M, Shetty SR, Gatewood JD, Taylor JA, Rissman EF, Connelly JJ. 2012. Gestational exposure to bisphenol A produces transgenerational changes in behaviors and gene expression. Endocrinology 153(8):3828-3838.

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