BPA exposure has transgenerational effects on gene linked to autism, suggests a new study, which found that mice who were never exposed to BPA, but whose great grandmothers were exposed to BPA during pregnancy, showed autistic behavior. BPA is a common EDC used in plastics and food storage material.

The title of the post is a copy and paste from the title and first paragraph of the linked academic press release here:

Mouse study finds BPA exposure has transgenerational effects on gene linked to autism

BPA is a common EDC used in plastics and food storage material, and it is already present in most humans’ urine or blood.

In this mouse study, researchers tested mice descended from those exposed to BPA for social recognition and found that they showed a social behavioral deficient like autistic behavior. Mice whose great grandmothers were exposed to BPA during pregnancy were more active and took longer to habituate to strangers than other mice.

Journal Reference:

Jennifer T Wolstenholme, Zuzana Drobná, Anne D Henriksen, Jessica A Goldsby, Rachel Stevenson, Joshua W Irvin, Jodi A Flaws, Emilie F Rissman.

Transgenerational Bisphenol A causes deficits in social recognition and alters post-synaptic density genes in mice.

Endocrinology, 2019;

Link: https://academic.oup.com/endo/advance-article/doi/10.1210/en.2019-00196/5513493

DOI: 10.1210/en.2019-00196


Bisphenol A (BPA) is a ubiquitous endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC). Developmental exposure produces changes in behavior and gene expression in brain. Here we examined social recognition behaviors in mice, three generations (F3) after exposure to gestational BPA. Second generation mice were bred in one of four mating combinations to reveal whether characteristics in F3 were acquired via maternal or paternal exposures. After repeated habituation to the same mouse, offspring of dams from the BPA-lineage failed to display increased investigation of a novel mouse. Genes involved in excitatory post-synaptic densities (PSD) were examined in F3 brains using qPCR. Differential expression of genes important for function and stability of PSDs were assessed at three developmental ages. Several related PSD genes ― SH3 and multiple ankyrin repeat domains 1 (Shank1), Homer scaffolding protein 1c (Homer1c), DLG associated protein 1 (Gkap), and discs large MAGUK scaffold protein 4 (PSD95) ― were differentially expressed in control- versus BPA-lineage brains. Using a second strain of F3 inbred mice exposed to BPA, we noted the same differences in Shank1 and PSD95 expression found in C57BL/6J mice. In sum, transgenerational BPA exposure disrupted social interactions in mice and dysregulated normal expression of PSD genes during neural development. The fact that the same genetic effects were found in two different mouse strains and in several brain regions, increased potential for translation. The genetic and functional relationship between PSD and abnormal neurobehavioral disorders is well established and our data suggest that BPA may contribute, in a transgenerational manner, to neurodevelopmental diseases.

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