Soy but not bisphenol A (BPA) induces hallmarks of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and related metabolic co-morbidities in rats

Reprod Toxicol. 2014 Nov;49:209-18. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2014.09.003. Epub 2014 Sep 19.


Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is the most common female endocrine disorder with a prevalence as high as 8-15% depending on ethnicity and the diagnostic criteria employed. The basic pathophysiology and mode of inheritance remain unclear, but environmental factors such as diet, stress and chemical exposures are thought to be contributory. Developmental exposure to endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) have been hypothesized to exacerbate risk, in part because PCOS hallmarks and associated metabolic co-morbidities can be reliably induced in animal models by perinatal androgen exposure. Here we show that lifetime exposure to a soy diet, containing endocrine active phytoestrogens, but not developmental exposure (gestational day 6-lactational day 40) to the endocrine disrupting monomer bisphenol A (BPA), can induce key features of PCOS in the rat; results which support the hypothesis that hormonally active diets may contribute to risk when consumed throughout gestation and post-natal life.

Keywords: Development; Endocrine disruptors; Genistein; Ovary; Phytoestrogens.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / adverse effects*
  • Diet / adverse effects
  • Endocrine Disruptors / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Ovary / drug effects
  • Ovary / pathology
  • Phenols / adverse effects*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / chemically induced*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / pathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Soy Foods / adverse effects*
  • Testosterone / blood


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Phenols
  • Testosterone
  • bisphenol A