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Environ Health Perspect. 2013 Aug;121(8):912-8. doi: 10.1289/ehp.1206064. Epub 2013 Jun 11.

Fetal exposure of rhesus macaques to bisphenol a alters cellular development of the conducting airway by changing epithelial secretory product expression.

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Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616, USA.



Bisphenol A (BPA) exposure early in life results in organizational changes in reproductive organs, but the effect of BPA on conducting airway cellular maturation has not been studied. Late gestation is characterized by active differentiation of secretory cells in the lung epithelium.


We evaluated the hypothesis that BPA exposure disrupts epithelial secretory cell development in the fetal conducting airway of the rhesus macaque.


We exposed animals to BPA during either the second (early term) or the third (late term) trimester. There were four treatment groups: a) sham control early term, b) sham control late term, c) BPA early term (BPA-early), and d) BPA late term (BPA-late). Because cellular maturation occurs nonuniformly in the lung, we defined mRNA and protein expression by airway level using microdissection.


BPA exposure of the dam during late term significantly accelerated secretory cell maturation in the proximal airways of the fetus; both Clara cell secretory protein (CCSP) and MUC5AC/5B mRNA and protein expression increased.


BPA exposure during late gestation accelerates secretory cell maturation in the proximal conducting airways. We identified a critical window of fetal susceptibility for BPA effects on lung epithelial cell maturation in the third trimester. This is of environmental health importance because increases in airway mucins are hallmarks of a number of childhood lung diseases that may be affected by BPA exposure.

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