Researchers discover adverse effects of Bisphenol A on calcium channels

December 6, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—Bisphenol A, a substance found in many synthetic products, is considered to be harmful, particularly, for fetuses and babies. Researchers from the University of Bonn have now shown in experiments on cells from human and mouse tissue that this environmental chemical blocks calcium channels in cell membranes. Similar effects are elicited by drugs used to treat high blood pressure and cardiac arrhythmia. The results are now presented in the journal Molecular Pharmacology.

The industrial chemical bisphenol A (BPA) is worldwide extensively utilized for manufacturing polycarbonates and synthetic resins. "This substance has been shown to affect the hormonal system and may have negative effects on the function of enzymes and carrier proteins," reports Prof. Dr. Dieter Swandulla from the Institute of Physiology II at the University of Bonn. BPA is associated with heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and neurological dysfunction. "It seems that fetuses and newborns are particularly sensitive to BPA," adds the physiologist. Due to its unpredictable effects, the EU Commission banned the use of BPA in baby bottles in 2011 as a precaution.

Bisphenol A blocks multiple essential calcium channels

The team of researchers around Prof. Swandulla now reports that BPA reversibly blocks calcium channels essential for cell function in mouse and . flowing through these pore-like so-called channel proteins into living cells, control e.g. the contraction of , the activity of enzymes, and the communication of with each other. "Drugs such as those used to treat high blood pressure and cardiac arrhythmia on the one hand, and neurotoxins, such as , on the other hand act on exactly the same calcium channels," explains the physiologist from the University of Bonn. "This indicates that BPA can indeed have adverse effects on human health." Since BPA binds to the reversibly, there is at least the possibility of the chemical being eliminated from the body.

Bisphenol A and its derivatives are ubiquitous

Nowadays BPA and its related substances can be detected almost everywhere in the environment. Effective doses are found in CD's, paper money, thermal paper, food cans, dental fillings and flame retardants, even in the breathing air and in house dust. Humans are meanwhile chronically exposed to these compounds. "This is why it would be desirable to completely stop the production of BPA," says Prof. Swandulla. "Due to the high-volume production and its widespread occurrence, it would, however, take a very long time to remove this chemical from the environment and the human organism." Consequently, alternatives to BPA should be utilized which are harmless to humans and other organisms.

Explore further: BPA exposure effects may last for generations

More information: Bisphenol A inhibits voltage-activated Ca2+ channels in vitro: mechanisms and structural requirements, Molecular Pharmacology, DOI: 10.1124/mol.112.081372

Related Stories

BPA exposure effects may last for generations

June 15, 2012
Exposure to low doses of Bisphenol A (BPA) during gestation had immediate and long-lasting, trans-generational effects on the brain and social behaviors in mice, according to a recent study accepted for publication in the ...

What to do with bisphenol A: Ban it, restrict it, leave it alone?

June 8, 2011
Despite years of scientific studies, reports, lawsuits, congressional inquiries, claims and counterclaims, the question of whether bisphenol A (BPA) poses health threats to people lacks a definitive answer, according to a ...

Widespread exposure to BPA substitute is occurring from cash register receipts, other paper

July 11, 2012
People are being exposed to higher levels of the substitute for BPA in cash register thermal paper receipts and many of the other products that engendered concerns about the health effects of bisphenol A, according to a new ...

Exposure to BPA has been underestimated, new research says

June 6, 2011
A new University of Missouri study shows that the exposure to the controversial chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) through diet has been underestimated by previous lab tests. In the study, researchers compared BPA concentrations ...

Recommended for you

Post-stroke patients reach terra firma with new exosuit technology

July 26, 2017
Upright walking on two legs is a defining trait in humans, enabling them to move very efficiently throughout their environment. This can all change in the blink of an eye when a stroke occurs. In about 80% of patients post-stroke, ...

Molecular hitchhiker on human protein signals tumors to self-destruct

July 24, 2017
Powerful molecules can hitch rides on a plentiful human protein and signal tumors to self-destruct, a team of Vanderbilt University engineers found.

Researchers develop new method to generate human antibodies

July 24, 2017
An international team of scientists has developed a method to rapidly produce specific human antibodies in the laboratory. The technique, which will be described in a paper to be published July 24 in The Journal of Experimental ...

New vaccine production could improve flu shot accuracy

July 24, 2017
A new way of producing the seasonal flu vaccine could speed up the process and provide better protection against infection.

A sodium surprise: Engineers find unexpected result during cardiac research

July 20, 2017
Irregular heartbeat—or arrhythmia—can have sudden and often fatal consequences. A biomedical engineering team at Washington University in St. Louis examining molecular behavior in cardiac tissue recently made a surprising ...

Want to win at sports? Take a cue from these mighty mice

July 20, 2017
As student athletes hit training fields this summer to gain the competitive edge, a new study shows how the experiences of a tiny mouse can put them on the path to winning.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.