Male Mice Exposed to BPA Less Masculine, Study Finds

We’ve long been writing about the negative health effects linked to <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/practice_areas/toxic_substances">bisphenol A—BPA—citing that the polycarbonate plastic chemical works in the body as an anti-androgen. Anti-androgens are substances that block hormone activity by mimicking estrogen, a powerful female hormone.

Hormone interruption is a significant health issue. Consider this: BPA, with its hormone-mimicking properties, interrupts sexual development and processes, especially in developing fetuses, infants, and children; a frightening prospect considering the chemical’s legendary ubiquity.

Now, says, CNN Health, another study has linked BPA to negative health outcomes. In this case, male mice exposed to BPA in utero, appeared less masculine. This means, said CNN Health, that the mice are not only less attractive to female mice, but they experienced difficulty in traveling through a maze and were less interested in exploration. These results mean that the same responses could be expected in human boys.

The study revealed that male deer mice whose mothers were fed BPA during pregnancy showed signs of demasculization and appeared to be less attractive to female deer mice, said CNN Health. Another experiment in the study involved releasing female mice into cages in which two male mice resided—one exposed to BPA and one not. The typical “nose-to-nose contact” seen in male-female interaction was decreased by about half with the BPA-exposed males, said CNN Health. The team said it is likely that the females could sense behavioral differences, differences in pheromones, or differences in both, added CNN Health.

“The [BPA-exposed] mice outwardly look normal,” said Cheryl Rosenfeld, Ph.D., the lead author of the study and an associate professor of biomedical sciences at the University of Missouri—Columbia, quoted CNN Health. “We have measured their motor skills and done sensory skill assessments, and they look normal; you can’t tell which were exposed. But when you go deeper, that’s when you find this difference emerging. The fact that we found this sexually selected behavior is different,” she added. The findings were published Monday on the website of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This study suggests, said CNN Health, researchers might need to review nonadult hormone levels when creating BPA studies for humans, said John Meeker, Sc.D., an assistant professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Michigan School of Public Health, in Ann Arbor. “In a human study, we often depend on an outcome like hormone levels,” says Meeker, who was not involved in this research but who has studied a potential link between BPA exposure and male infertility, said CNN Health. “It’s possible that BPA could be impacting reproduction in a way that wouldn’t be picked up in our typical way of studying things. [This study] may inform how we go about studying those things in the future,” Meeker added.

“[We] have sexually selected traits just like animals do, so there’s no reason to presume that the animals would behave differently than humans,” Rosenfeld said, quoted CNN Health. “It also suggests that the development period is very important—the period when offspring are exposed to endocrine-disrupting compounds. Pregnant women need to start considering what exposure to these compounds is doing to their offspring,” she added.

In many hundreds of studies, BPA has been linked to toxic injury and life threatening illnesses including implications in cardiovascular disease, intestinal problems, brain cell connection interference, increased risks of reproductive and immune system diseases and disorders, problems with liver function testing, interruptions in chemotherapy treatment, premature puberty, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and other female fertility and endocrine issues, and erectile dysfunction and male sexual problems.

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