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Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2017 Jun 15;325:18-24. doi: 10.1016/j.taap.2017.04.001. Epub 2017 Apr 5.

Butyl paraben and propyl paraben modulate bisphenol A and estradiol concentrations in female and male mice.

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Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4K1, Canada.
Department of Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario L8S 4K1, Canada. Electronic address:


People are routinely exposed to the antimicrobial preservatives butyl paraben (BP) and propyl paraben (PP), as well as the monomer of polycarbonate plastics, bisphenol A (BPA). These chemicals are reliably detected in human urine and potentially interact. We investigated whether BP or PP exposure can modulate the concentrations of 14C-BPA and 17β-estradiol (E2). Female and male CF1 mice were each given a subcutaneous injection of oil containing 0 (vehicle), 1, 3, or 9mg BP or PP, then given a dietary supplement containing 50μg/kg 14C-BPA. Radioactivity was measured in tissues through liquid scintillation counting. Significantly elevated 14C-BPA concentrations were observed following BP treatment in blood serum of both sexes, as well as the lungs, uterus, and ovaries of females and the testes and epididymides of males. Treatment with PP significantly elevated 14C-BPA concentrations in the uterus only. In another experiment, female and male CF1 mice were each injected with vehicle, 3mg BP, or 3mg PP, and E2 was measured in urine 2-12h later. Whereas PP did not affect E2, BP significantly elevated E2 6-10h after injection in females and 8h after injection in males. These data indicate that BP and PP can alter the pharmacokinetics of BPA in vivo, and that BP can modulate E2 concentrations. These results are consistent with evidence that parabens inhibit enzymes that are critical for BPA and E2 metabolism, and demonstrate the importance of considering concurrent exposure to multiple chemicals when determining regulatory exposure limits.


Bisphenol A; Endocrine disruptor; Estradiol; Paraben; Uterus; p-Hydroxybenzoic acid ester

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