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Environ Health Perspect. 2007 Dec;115 Suppl 1:69-76. doi: 10.1289/ehp.9368.

Endocrine-disrupting potential of bisphenol A, bisphenol A dimethacrylate, 4-n-nonylphenol, and 4-n-octylphenol in vitro: new data and a brief review.

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Unit of Cellular and Molecular Toxicology, Institute of Public Health, Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, University of Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark.



An array of environmental compounds is known to possess endocrine disruption (ED) potentials. Bisphenol A (BPA) and bisphenol A dimethacrylate (BPA-DM) are monomers used to a high extent in the plastic industry and as dental sealants. Alkylphenols such as 4-n-nonylphenol (nNP) and 4-n-octylphenol (nOP) are widely used as surfactants.


We investigated the effect in vitro of these four compounds on four key cell mechanisms including transactivation of a) the human estrogen receptor (ER), b) the human androgen receptor (AR), c) the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR), and d) aromatase activity.


All four compounds inhibited aromatase activity and were agonists and antagonists of ER and AR, respectively. nNP increased AhR activity concentration-dependently and further increased the 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin AhR action. nOP caused dual responses with a weak increased and a decreased AhR activity at lower (10(-8) M) and higher concentrations (10(-5)-10(-4) M), respectively. AhR activity was inhibited with BPA (10(-5)-10(-4) M) and weakly increased with BPA-DM (10(-5) M), respectively. nNP showed the highest relative potency (REP) compared with the respective controls in the ER, AhR, and aromatase assays, whereas similar REP was observed for the four chemicals in the AR assay.


Our in vitro data clearly indicate that the four industrial compounds have ED potentials and that the effects can be mediated via several cellular pathways, including the two sex steroid hormone receptors (ER and AR), aromatase activity converting testosterone to estrogen, and AhR; AhR is involved in syntheses of steroids and metabolism of steroids and xenobiotic compounds.


BPA; BPA-DM; androgenic; aromatase; endocrine disruption; estrogenic; nNP; nOP; nuclear receptors

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