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Cell Death Dis. 2013 Jun 20;4:e676. doi: 10.1038/cddis.2013.203.

Exposure to bisphenol A disrupts meiotic progression during spermatogenesis in adult rats through estrogen-like activity.

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Department of Occupational Health, Third Military Medical University, Chongqing, People,s Republic of China.


The effect of bisphenol A (BPA) on the reproductive system is highly debated but has been associated with meiotic abnormalities. However, evidence is lacking with regard to the mechanisms involved. In order to explore the underlying mechanisms of BPA-induced meiotic abnormalities in adult male rats, we exposed 9-week-old male Wistar rats to BPA by gavage at 0, 2, 20 or 200 μg/kg body weight (bw)/day for 60 consecutive days. 17β-Estradiol (E2) was administered at 10 μg/kg bw/day as the estrogenic positive control. Treatments with 200 μg/kg bw/day of BPA and E2 significantly decreased sperm counts and inhibited spermiation, characterized by an increase in stage VII and decrease in stage VIII in the seminiferous epithelium. This was concomitant with a disruption in the progression of meiosis I and the persistence of meiotic DNA strand breaks in pachytene spermatocytes,and the ataxia-telangiectasia-mutated and checkpoint kinase 2 signal pathway was also activated; Eventually, germ cell apoptosis was triggered as evaluated by terminal dUTP nick-end labeling assay and western blot for caspase 3. Using the estrogen receptor (ER) antagonist ICI 182780, we determined that ER signaling mediated BPA-induced meiotic disruption and reproductive impairment. Our results suggest that ER signaling-mediated meiotic disruption may be a major contributor to the molecular events leading to BPA-related male reproductive disorders. These rodent data support the growing association between BPA exposure and the rapid increase in the incidence of male reproductive disorders.

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