Perinatal exposure of rats to Bisphenol A affects the fertility of male offspring

Life Sci. 2009 Nov 18;85(21-22):742-52. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2009.10.004. Epub 2009 Oct 21.


Aims: The exposure to endocrine disruptor (ED) induces functional and behavioral abnormalities associated with reproduction. Humans are ubiquitously exposed to Bisphenol A (BPA), an ED, as it leaches from polycarbonate plastics into their contents. The aim of the present study was to determine the effect of perinatal exposure of male rats to BPA on fertility parameters and perturbations in the expression of testicular steroid receptors (SRs) in adult F(1) offspring. These effects were studied in adult males of the F(2) and F(3) generations to determine the vertical transmission of BPA exposure.

Main methods: Pregnant female rats (F(0)) were gavaged with either BPA (1.2 and 2.4 microg/kg bw), a vehicle control or positive control with Diethylstilbestrol (10 microg/kg bw) during the perinatal period. Adult F(1) males were subjected to fertility assessment by mating with unexposed females. The reproductive functions of the subsequent F(2) and F(3) litters were investigated in a similar manner. Immunohistochemical localization of SRs was carried out in the testes of F(1), F(2) and F(3) generation adult rats.

Key findings: A significant increase in post implantation loss and a decrease in litter size and sperm count and motility were observed in the F(1) male offspring. A reduction in the testicular expression profile of SRs was observed. These effects were very prominent in the subsequent F(2) and F(3) generations.

Significance: Perinatal exposure to environmentally relevant doses of BPA affects the male germ line, leading to impairments in the fertility of F(1) male offspring and their subsequent F(2) and F(3) generations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Diethylstilbestrol / adverse effects
  • Estrogens, Non-Steroidal / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Infertility, Male / chemically induced*
  • Litter Size / drug effects
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects
  • Phenols / adverse effects*
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Seminiferous Tubules / drug effects
  • Sperm Count
  • Sperm Motility / drug effects
  • Testis / drug effects


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Estrogens, Non-Steroidal
  • Phenols
  • Diethylstilbestrol
  • bisphenol A