Adverse effects of bisphenol A on male reproductive function

Rev Environ Contam Toxicol. 2014;228:57-82. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-01619-1_3.


BPA is a ubiquitous environmental contaminant, resulting mainly from manufacturing,use or disposal of plastics of which it is a component, and the degradation of industrial plastic-related wastes. Growing evidence from research on laboratory animals, wildlife, and humans supports the view that BPA produces an endocrine disrupting effect and adversely affects male reproductive function. To better understand the adverse effects caused by exposure to BPA, we performed an up-to-date literature review on the topic, with particular emphasis on in utero exposure, and associated effects on spermatogenesis, steroidogenesis, and accessory organs.BPA studies on experimental animals show that effects are generally more detrimental during in utero exposure, a critical developmental stage for the embryo. BPA has been found to produce several defects in the embryo, such as feminization of male fetuses, atrophy of the testes and epididymides, increased prostate size, shortening of AGD, disruption of BTB, and alteration of adult sperm parameters (e.g.,sperm count, motility, and density). BPA also affects embryo thyroid development.During the postnatal and pubertal periods and adulthood, BPA affects the hypothalamic-pituitary-testicular axis by modulating hormone (e.g., LH and FSH,androgen and estrogen) synthesis, expression and function of respective receptors(ER, AR). These effects alter sperm parameters. BPA also induces oxidative stress in the testis and epididymis, by inhibiting antioxidant enzymes and stimulating lipid peroxidation. This suggests that employing antioxidants may be a promising strategy to relieve BPA-induced disturbances.Epidemiological studies have also provided data indicating that BPA alters male reproductive function in humans. These investigations revealed that men occupationally exposed to BPA had high blood/urinary BPA levels, and abnormal semen parameters. BPA-exposed men also showed reduced libido and erectile ejaculatory difficulties; moreover, the overall BPA effects on male reproduction appear to be more harmful if exposure occurs in utero. The regulation of BPA and BPA-related products should be reinforced, particularly where exposure during the fetal period can occur. The current TDI for BPA is proposed as 25 and 50 1-1g/kg bwt/day (European Food Safety Authority and Health Canada, respectively). Based on the evidence available, we believe that a TDI value of 5 1-1g/kg bwt/day is more appropriate (the endpoint is modulation of rat testicular function). Certain BPA derivatives are being considered as alternatives to BPA. However, certain of these related products display adverse effects that are similar to those of BPA. These effects should be carefully considered before using them as final alternatives to BPA in plastic production.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / toxicity*
  • Fetus / drug effects
  • Genitalia, Male / drug effects*
  • Genitalia, Male / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / drug effects
  • Male
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Phenols / toxicity*
  • Reproduction / drug effects
  • Risk Assessment
  • Spermatogenesis / drug effects*
  • Testis / drug effects


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Phenols
  • bisphenol A