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Your Environment. Your Health.

BPA May be Especially Harmful to Heart Health of Females

Scott Belcher, Ph.D.

NIEHS Grants: R03ES023098, RC2ES018765

An NIEHS grantee and colleagues report that exposure to the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A (BPA) from birth though young adulthood affects the heart function and blood pressure of male mice differently from that of female mice. The results add more evidence that BPA can adversely affect the cardiovascular system and suggest that females are particularly sensitive to heart damage from BPA.

The researchers fed mice with food containing various amounts of BPA, which resulted in exposures ranging from 4 to 5,000 micrograms per kilogram of body weight per day. They observed changes in the control of heart rate and blood pressure in both male and female BPA-exposed mice. Male mice exposed to BPA above 5 micrograms per kilogram body weight and female mice exposed to the highest amounts of BPA showed decreased systolic blood pressure.

To mimic some of the effects of a heart attack, the researchers administered isoproterenol, a drug that leads to tissue enlargement. In BPA-exposed female mice, isoproterenol caused increased heart muscle damage along with accumulation of collagen, which indicates of fibrosis or scarring. In male mice, BPA exposure without isoproterenol increased fibrosis but isoproterenol treatments didn’t cause any additional increase in fibrosis, ischemic damage, or hypertrophy. The researchers also conducted a RNA sequence analysis, which identified significant sex-specific changes in gene expression in mice exposed to BPA.

Citation: Citation: Belcher SM, Gear R, Kendig EL. 2015. Bisphenol A alters autonomic tone and extracellular matrix structure and induces sex-specific effects on cardiovascular function in male and female CD-1 mice. Endocrinology; doi: 10.1210/en.2014-1847 [Online 16 January 2015].

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