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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2015 Apr 15;284(2):101-12. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2015.02.021. Epub 2015 Mar 5.

Developmental bisphenol A (BPA) exposure leads to sex-specific modification of hepatic gene expression and epigenome at birth that may exacerbate high-fat diet-induced hepatic steatosis.

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Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, USA.
Department of Comparative Biosciences, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, USA.
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, USA. Electronic address:
Department of Pathobiology, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, USA. Electronic address:


Developmental bisphenol A (BPA) exposure increases adulthood hepatic steatosis with reduced mitochondrial function. To investigate the potential epigenetic mechanisms behind developmental BPA-induced hepatic steatosis, pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats were dosed with vehicle (oil) or BPA (100μg/kg/day) from gestational day 6 until postnatal day (PND) 21. After weaning, offspring were either challenged with a high-fat (HF; 45% fat) or remained on a control (C) diet until PND110. From PND60 to 90, both BPA and HF diet increased the fat/lean ratio in males only, and the combination of BPA and HF diet appeared to cause the highest ratio. On PND110, Oil-HF, BPA-C, and BPA-HF males had higher hepatic lipid accumulation than Oil-C, with microvesicular steatosis being marked in the BPA-HF group. Furthermore, on PND1, BPA increased and modified hepatic triglyceride (TG) and free fatty acid (FFA) compositions in males only. In PND1 males, BPA increased hepatic expression of FFA uptake gene Fat/Cd36, and decreased the expression of TG synthesis- and β-oxidation-related genes (Dgat, Agpat6, Cebpα, Cebpβ, Pck1, Acox1, Cpt1a, Cybb). BPA altered DNA methylation and histone marks (H3Ac, H4Ac, H3Me2K4, H3Me3K36), and decreased the binding of several transcription factors (Pol II, C/EBPβ, SREBP1) within the male Cpt1a gene, the key β-oxidation enzyme. In PND1 females, BPA only increased the expression of genes involved in FFA uptake and TG synthesis (Lpl, Fasn, and Dgat). These data suggest that developmental BPA exposure alters and reprograms hepatic β-oxidation capacity in males, potentially through the epigenetic regulation of genes, and further alters the response to a HF diet.


Adiposity; Bisphenol A (BPA); Endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC); Histones; Methylation; NAFLD

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