Endocrine Disruption and Human Health. From Populations to Cells: An Integrated Approach in the Study of Bisphenol A.
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Reason for embargo
I want to publish the last chapter of the thesis and this is now in preparation
Background. Endocrine disruptors (EDC) are exogenous compounds that mimic the action of natural hormones and alter the normal endocrine system. Life-long chronic exposure to Bisphenol A (BPA), a putative EDC, has been linked with risk of metabolic disorders in epidemiological studies. Objectives. The aim was to study the human health effects of exposure to BPA, using an integrated approach combining environmental epidemiology and toxicology. Methods. Urinary levels of BPA exposure were measured in participants of the InChianti longitudinal study, a representative population-based study of Italian adults, at the Baseline (1998-00) and nine years later (3rd Wave, 2007-09). Hormones levels and the gene expression of specific target genes were the end points considered. Results were validated in laboratory studies on a human leukemic T-cell line (Jurkat cells). Results. In general, urinary BPA (uBPA) concentrations were higher among men and younger respondents, and within subjects uBPA concentrations were correlated (r=0.58; p=0.013, model adjusted for age, sex, urinary creatinine). At baseline, uBPA concentration were associated with higher total testosterone concentrations in men (β = 0.05; 95% CI, 0.02–0.08). In the 3rd wave, gene expression analysis revealed positive associations between uBPA concentrations and ESR2 (estrogen receptor beta) expression (β=0.18; 95% CI: 0.04, 0.32) and ESRRA (estrogen related receptor alpha) expression (β= 0.17; 95% CI: 0.02, 0.32). In a following in vitro study, BPA exposure (0.001-1 micro molar) led to enhanced expression of ESRRA and ESR2 in Jurkat cells over a period of 72 hours. Conclusions. Results indicate that BPA is bioactive in the human body and is able to alter circulating hormone concentrations and estrogen receptor/estrogen-related receptr gene expression. In particular, given the role of ERRα as a major control point for oxidative metabolism and heart development, this research provides indications on the possible molecular mechanisms of action of BPA in metabolic diseases.
PhD in Biological Sciences