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Your Environment. Your Health.

Genetic Changes in Uterus Linked to Fetal BPA Exposure in Mice

Hugh S. Taylor, M.D.
Yale School of Medicine

Exposure to low levels of bisphenol A (BPA) during fetal development permanently altered the uterine genome in mice, according to a new study by NIEHS-funded researchers. The changes they found mainly affected genes implicated in estrogen-related diseases, such as infertility, endometriosis, osteoporosis, prostate cancer, obesity, and breast cancer.

Researchers exposed pregnant mice to low levels of BPA and compared the genetic and epigenetic profiles in the uterus of offspring to the profiles of unexposed mice. They also examined how genes in the uterus responded to estrogen during and after sexual maturity. They discovered changes in the estrogen responses of almost 1,000 genes in the BPA-exposed mice. Some of the changes only became apparent after sexual maturity and were not seen at birth or in early life.

With conflicting reports on the health effects of low levels of BPA, this study confirms that BPA is an active compound and can negatively impact fetal development. According to the authors, the findings demonstrate that BPA leads to a detrimental change in uterine response to estrogens, and steps should be taken to reduce maternal exposure to BPA during pregnancy.

Citation: Jorgensen EM, Alderman MH 3rd, Taylor HS. 2016. Preferential epigenetic programming of estrogen response after in utero xenoestrogen (bisphenol-A) exposure. FASEB J; doi:10.1096/fj.201500089Rfj.201500089R [Online 16 June 2016].

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