Kelly EA1, Opanashuk LA2, Majewska AK1.
1 Department of Neurobiology and Anatomy, Center for Visual Science, School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Rochester Rochester, NY, USA.
2 Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Rochester Rochester, NY, USA.
Bisphenol-A (BPA) is a monomer used in the production of polycarbonate plastics, epoxies and resins and is present in many common household objects ranging from water bottles, can linings, baby bottles, and dental resins. BPA exposure has been linked to numerous negative health effects throughout the body, although the mechanisms of BPA action on the developing brain are still poorly understood. In this study, we sought to investigate whether low dose BPA exposure during a developmental phase when brain connectivity is being organized can cause long-term deleterious effects on brain function and plasticity that outlast the BPA exposure. Lactating dams were orally exposed to 25 μg/kg/day of BPA (one half the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 50 μg/kg/day rodent dose reference) or vehicle alone from postnatal day (P)5 to P21. Pups exposed to BPA in their mother’s milk exhibited deficits in activity-dependent plasticity in the visual cortex during the visual critical period (P28). To determine the possible mechanisms underlying BPA action, we used immunohistochemistry to examine histological markers known to impact cortical maturity and developmental plasticity and quantified cortical dendritic spine density, morphology, and dynamics. While we saw no changes in parvalbumin neuron density, myelin basic protein expression or microglial density in BPA-exposed animals, we observed increases in spine density on apical dendrites in cortical layer five neurons but no significant alterations in other morphological parameters.
Taken together our results suggest that exposure to very low levels of BPA during a critical period of brain development can have profound consequences for the normal wiring of sensory circuits and their plasticity later in life.
PMCID: PMC4205826 Free PMC Article
PMID: 25374513 [PubMed] 1. Front Neuroanat. 2014 Oct 22;8:117. doi: 10.3389/fnana.2014.00117. eCollection 2014.