Developmental exposure to estrogenic chemicals induces morphological, functional, and behavioral anomalies associated with reproduction. Humans are routinely exposed to bisphenol-A (BPA), an estrogenic compound that leaches from dental materials and plastic food and beverage containers. The aim of the present study was to determine the effects of in utero exposure to low, environmentally relevant doses of BPA on the development of female reproductive tissues in CD-1 mice. In previous publications, we have shown that this treatment alters the morphology of the mammary gland and affects estrous cyclicity. Here we report that in utero exposure to 25 and 250 ng BPA/ kg of body weight per day via osmotic pumps implanted into pregnant dams at Gestational Day 9 induces alterations in the genital tract of female offspring that are revealed during adulthood. They include decreased wet weight of the vagina, decreased volume of the endometrial lamina propria, increased incorporation of bromodeoxyuridine into the DNA of endometrial gland epithelial cells, and increased expression of estrogen receptor-α (ERα) and progesterone receptor in the luminal epithelium of the endometrium and subepithelial stroma. Because ERα is known to be expressed in these estrogen-target organs at the time of BPA exposure, it is plausible that BPA may directly affect the expression of ER-controlled genes involved in the morphogenesis of these organs. In addition, BPA-induced alterations that specifically affect hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis function may further contribute to the anomalies observed at 3 mo of age, long after the cessation of BPA exposure.
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