Bisphenol A (BPA), released from plastics and dental sealants, is a suspected endocrine disruptor and reproductive toxicant. In occupationally exposed workers, BPA has been associated with erectile dysfunction (ED).
To determine whether long-term exposure to high doses of BPA in the rat affects serum levels of testosterone (T) and estradiol (E2), and induces corporal histopathology and resultant ED.
Young rats were injected intraperitoneal (IP) injection daily with BPA at 25 mg/kg/day or vehicle (n = 8/group). Erectile function was measured at 3 months by cavernosometry and electrical field stimulation (EFS). BPA was assayed in serum, urine, and penile tissue, and serum T and E2 were determined. Quantitative Masson trichrome, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling, Oil Red O, immunohistochemistry for calponin, α-smooth muscle actin, and Oct 4 were applied to penile tissue sections. Protein markers were assessed by Western blots and 2-D minigels, and RNA by DNA microarrays.
Erectile function, histological, and biochemical markers in corporal tissue.
In the BPA-treated rats, total and free BPA levels were increased in the serum, urine, and penile tissue while serum T and E2 levels were reduced. In addition, the corpora cavernosa demonstrated a reduction in smooth muscle (SM) content, SM/collagen ratio, together with an increase in myofibroblasts, fat deposits, and apoptosis, but no significant change in collagen content or stem cells (nuclear/perinuclear Oct 4). In the penile shaft, BPA induced a downregulation of Nanog (stem cells), neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nitrergic terminals), and vascular endothelial growth factor (angiogenesis), with genes related to SM tone and cytoskeleton upregulated 5- to 50-fold, accompanied by changes in the multiple protein profile. However, both cavernosometry and EFS were unaltered by BPA.
While rats treated chronically with a high IP dose of BPA developed hypogonadism and a corporal histo- and molecular-pathology usually associated with ED, no changes were detected in erectile function as measured by EFS and cavernosometry. Further studies using alternate routes of BPA administration with various doses and length of exposure are needed to expand these findings. Kovanecz I, Gelfand R, Masouminia M, Gharib S, Segura D, Vernet D, Rajfer J, Li DK, Liao CY, Kannan K, and Gonzalez-Cadavid NF. Chronic high dose intraperitoneal bisphenol A (BPA) induces substantial histological and gene expression alterations in rat penile tissue without impairing erectile function. J Sex Med **;**:**-**.