Disruption of adult expression of sexually selected traits by developmental exposure to bisphenol A

Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program, Bond Life Sciences Center, and Department of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Impact Factor: 9.67). 06/2011; 108(28):11715-20. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1107958108
Source: PubMed


Exposure to endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs), such as bisphenol A (BPA), may cause adverse health effects in wildlife and humans, but controversy remains as to what traits are most sensitive to EDCs and might serve as barometers of exposure. Expression of sexually selected traits that have evolved through intrasexual competition for mates and intersexual choice of mating partner are more dependent on developmental and physical condition of an animal than naturally selected traits and thus might be particularly vulnerable to disruption by developmental exposure to EDCs. We have used the deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus) as a model to test this hypothesis. Adult male-male competition for mates in this species is supported by enhanced spatial navigational and exploratory abilities, which enable males to search for prospective, widely dispersed females. Male deer mice exposed to BPA or ethinyl estradiol (EE) through maternal diet showed no changes in external phenotype, sensory development, or adult circulating concentrations of testosterone and corticosterone, but spatial learning abilities and exploratory behaviors were severely compromised compared with control males. Because these traits are not sexually selected in females, BPA exposure predictably had no effect, although EE-exposed females demonstrated enhanced spatial navigational abilities. Both BPA-exposed and control females preferred control males to BPA-exposed males. Our demonstration that developmental exposure to BPA compromises cognitive abilities and behaviors essential for males to reproduce successfully has broad implications for other species, including our own. Thus, sexually selected traits might provide useful biomarkers to assess risk of environmental contamination in animal and human populations.

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Available from: Eldin Jasarevic, Oct 09, 2015
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    • "In animals, fetal or perinatal exposure to BPA has been shown to affect hormone levels (Rubin et al., 2001; Ramos et al., 2003; Alonso- Magdalena et al., 2010; Fenichel et al., 2013), reproductive tract morphology and function (vom Saal et al., 1998; Newbold et al., 2009), puberty (Howdeshell et al., 1999), male sexual behavior (Jones et al., 2011) and adult expression of sexually selected traits (Jasarevic et al., 2011). In humans, exposure to environmental or occupational levels of BPA has been associated with birth outcomes (Wolff et al., 2008; Philippat et al., 2012; Tang et al., 2013), puberty in boys (Ferguson et al., 2014), semen quality (Meeker et al., 2010) and declining male sexual function (Li et al., 2010). "
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    • "Their ubiquitous presence in North America also means that Peromyscus is found at many sites contaminated with toxic chemicals and may be useful as biomarkers of contamination . Peromyscus has been employed in numerous studies on the responses to chemicals, such as PCBs (Voltura and French 2007) and Aroclor 1254 (Wu et al. 1999) as well as being used to demonstrate transgenerational effects of BPA exposure (Jasarevic et al. 2011). "
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    • "At the physiological levels, BPA is suggested to be a factor attributed to the development of metabolic disorders in humans, such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity, and insulin resistance (Polyzos et al., 2012; vom Saal et al., 2012). A considerable number of studies in rodents have reported the negative effects of BPA on the function and development of reproductive and neuronal systems (Jašarević et al., 2011; Wolstenholme et al., 2011; Xi et al., 2011). More importantly, female mice prenatally exposed to BPA showed a decrease in fertility and fecundity (Cabaton et al., 2011) and had an adverse effect on the fertility of the male offspring (Salian et al., 2009). "
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