Bisphenol A affects sex-specific reproductive behaviors in monogamous animal species

February 11, 2013, University of Missouri-Columbia

Parents, teachers and psychologists know boys and girls behave differently. However, that difference isn't taken into account by most methods used to assess the risk to children from chemical exposure, according to Cheryl Rosenfeld, associate professor of biomedical sciences in the University of Missouri's Bond Life Sciences Center. A series of experiments by Rosenfeld studied the effects of prenatal exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) on later reproductive-associated behaviors using a socially and genetically monogamous rodent, the California mouse, which may better mirror most human societies than other rodents.

She observed harmful alterations to behaviors that affect the likelihood of successfully attracting a mate and reproducing. However, developmental exposure to altered the behaviors of males differently than females. In females, BPA reduced that is essential for them to forage to provide nutritional support to her offspring. In contrast, California mice males exposed to BPA demonstrated reduced territorial marking, which is essential for them to defend a home range and their mate. Rosenfeld suggests that these animal findings might provide a framework to guide human risk assessment studies in the sense that such studies may need to consider that pre- and post-natal exposure to BPA might differentially impact boys' versus girls' behaviors.

The American public comes into daily contact with the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) as it is present in a wide assortment of products, including some types of paper receipts, and canned goods, including beer and soda cans. The concern of many scientists is that the chemical can mimic the effect of female hormones in the human body. Studies looking for behavioral effects of BPA in children often focus on expression of general behaviors, such as aggression, anxiety or other traits, but more refined assessments are needed for boys versus girls, according to Rosenfeld.

"We use animal models to provide informative decisions about our own health and the risks associated with BPA," Rosenfeld said. "What we have observed in those models is that BPA affects male rodents differently than females. Risk assessment studies examining the impacts of BPA in humans could be more accurate if they took sex into account when monitoring for changes in children's behavioral patterns."

Rosenfeld's most recent study observed the influence of prenatal BPA exposure on California mice, whereas earlier studies had used deer mice. The two rodent species have contrasting mating behaviors. California mice are monogamous, as opposed to the polygamous deer mice. Although BPA affected the California mice differently than the deer mice, both rodent species' behaviors were altered in ways that would decrease their ability to successfully mate and pass on their genes to future generations. Since two species of rodents with different mating patterns were both affected, it suggests that BPA disrupts essential reproductive-associated behaviors that are species- and sex-specific.

Explore further: Study: BPA-exposed male deer mice are demasculinized and undesirable to females

More information: The study, "Effects of Developmental Bisphenol A Exposure on Reproductive-Related Behaviors in California Mice (Peromyscus californicus): A Monogamous Animal Model" was published in PLOS ONE. www.plosone.org/article/info%3 … journal.pone.0055698

Related Stories

Study: BPA-exposed male deer mice are demasculinized and undesirable to females

June 27, 2011
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration notes "some concern" with the controversial chemical BPA, and many other countries, such as Japan and Canada, have considered BPA product bans, disagreement exists amongst scientists ...

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 ...

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 ...

BPA lowers male fertility: report

June 6, 2011
Daily exposure to a chemical that is prevalent in the human environment, bisphenol A (BPA), causes lowered fertility in male mice, according to the results of a new study that will be presented Saturday at The Endocrine Society's ...

BPA exposure in utero may increase predisposition to breast cancer

October 3, 2011
A recent study accepted for publication in Molecular Endocrinology, a journal of The Endocrine Society, found that perinatal exposure to environmentally relevant doses of bisphenol A (BPA) alters long-term hormone response ...

Exposure to chemical BPA before birth linked to behavioral, emotional difficulties in girls

October 24, 2011
Exposure in the womb to bisphenol A (BPA) – a chemical used to make plastic containers and other consumer goods – is associated with behavior and emotional problems in young girls, according to a study led by researchers ...

Recommended for you

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

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.