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Endocrinology. 2007 Jan;148(1):116-27. Epub 2006 Oct 5.

Exposure to environmentally relevant doses of the xenoestrogen bisphenol-A alters development of the fetal mouse mammary gland.

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Tufts University School of Medicine, Department of Anatomy and Cellular Biology, Boston, Massachusetts 02111, USA.


Humans are routinely exposed to bisphenol-A (BPA), an estrogenic compound that leaches from dental materials, food and beverage containers, and other plastic consumer products. Effects of perinatal BPA exposure on the mouse mammary gland have been observed in puberty and adulthood, long after the period of exposure has ended. The aim of this study was to examine fetal mammary gland development at embryonic day (E)18 and assess changes in the tissue organization and histoarchitecture after exposure to an environmentally relevant dose of BPA. In unexposed fetuses, the relative position of the fetus with respect to its female and male siblings in the uterus influenced growth of the ductal tree, which was more developed in females placed between two males than in females placed between two females. Exposure of dams to 250 ng BPA per kilogram body weight per day from E8 to E18 significantly increased ductal area and ductal extension in exposed fetuses and obliterated positional differences. In the stroma, BPA exposure promoted maturation of the fat pad and altered the localization of collagen. Within the epithelium, BPA exposure led to a decrease in cell size and delayed lumen formation. Because mammary gland development is dependent on reciprocal interactions between these compartments, the advanced maturation of the fat pad and changes in the extracellular matrix may be responsible for the altered growth, cell size, and lumen formation observed in the epithelium. These results suggest that alterations in mammary gland phenotypes observed at puberty and adulthood in perinatally exposed mice have their origins in fetal development.

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