Bisphenol-A, an environmental contaminant that acts as a thyroid hormone receptor antagonist in vitro, increases serum thyroxine, and alters RC3/neurogranin expression in the developing rat brain

Endocrinology. 2005 Feb;146(2):607-12. doi: 10.1210/en.2004-1018. Epub 2004 Oct 21.


Considering the importance of thyroid hormone (TH) in brain development, it is of potential concern that a wide variety of environmental chemicals can interfere with thyroid function or, perhaps of greater concern, with TH action at its receptor (TR). Recently bisphenol-A (BPA, 4,4' isopropylidenediphenol) was reported to bind to the rat TR and act as an antagonist in vitro. BPA is a high production volume chemical, with more than 800 million kg of BPA produced annually in the United States alone. It is detectable in serum of pregnant women and cord serum taken at birth; is 5-fold higher in amniotic fluid at 15-18 wk gestation, compared with maternal serum; and was found in concentrations of up to 100 ng/g in placenta. Thus, the human population is widely exposed to BPA and it appears to accumulate in the fetus. We now report that dietary exposure to BPA of Sprague Dawley rats during pregnancy and lactation causes an increase in serum total T4 in pups on postnatal d 15, but serum TSH was not different from controls. The expression of the TH-responsive gene RC3/neurogranin, measured by in situ hybridization, was significantly up-regulated by BPA in the dentate gyrus. These findings suggest that BPA acts as a TH antagonist on the beta-TR, which mediates the negative feedback effect of TH on the pituitary gland, but that BPA is less effective at antagonizing TH on the alpha-TR, leaving TRalpha-mediated events to respond to elevated T4.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / pharmacology*
  • Animals
  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Brain / embryology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Calmodulin-Binding Proteins / genetics*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / drug effects
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / genetics*
  • Neurogranin
  • Phenols / pharmacology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Thyroid Hormone / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Thyroxine / blood*


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Calmodulin-Binding Proteins
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Nrgn protein, rat
  • Phenols
  • Receptors, Thyroid Hormone
  • Neurogranin
  • bisphenol A
  • Thyroxine