Bisphenol A alters gut microbiome: Comparative metagenomics analysis

Environ Pollut. 2016 Nov;218:923-930. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2016.08.039. Epub 2016 Aug 21.


Mounting evidence has shown that an alteration of the gut microbiota is associated with diet, and plays an important role in animal health and metabolic diseases. However, little is known about the influence of environmental contaminants on the gut microbial community. Bisphenol A (BPA), which is widely used for manufacturing plastic products, has recently been classified as an environmental obesogen. Although many studies have demonstrated the metabolic-disrupting effects of BPA on liver and pancreatic functions, the possible effects of this synthetic compound on the metabolic diversity of the intestinal microbiota is unknown. Using 16S rRNA gene sequencing analysis on caecum samples of CD-1 mice, the present study aimed to test the hypothesis that dietary BPA intake may influence the gut microbiota composition and functions, an important attributing factor to development of the metabolic syndrome. A high-fat diet (HFD) and high-sucrose diet (HSD) were included as the positive controls for comparing the changes in the intestinal microbial profiles. Our results demonstrated a significant reduction of species diversity in the gut microbiota of BPA-fed mice. Alpha and beta diversity analyses showed that dietary BPA intake led to a similar gut microbial community structure as that induced by HFD and HSD in mice. In addition, comparative analysis of the microbial communities revealed that both BPA and a HFD favored the growth of Proteobacteria, a microbial marker of dysbiosis. Consistently, growth induction of the family Helicobacteraceae and reduction of the Firmicutes and Clostridia populations were observed in the mice fed BPA or a HFD. Collectively, our study highlighted that the effects of dietary BPA intake on the shift of microbial community structure were similar to those of a HFD and HSD, and revealed microbial markers for the development of diseases associated with an unstable microbiota.

Keywords: BPA; Gut; Metagenomics; Microbiome; Sequencing.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / pharmacokinetics
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / toxicity*
  • Clostridium / genetics
  • Clostridium / growth & development
  • Diet, High-Fat / adverse effects*
  • Environmental Pollutants / pharmacokinetics
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / genetics*
  • Heliconiaceae / genetics
  • Heliconiaceae / growth & development
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestines / drug effects
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Metagenomics / methods*
  • Mice
  • Microbiota / genetics
  • Phenols / pharmacokinetics
  • Phenols / toxicity*
  • Proteobacteria / genetics
  • Proteobacteria / growth & development
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Phenols
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • bisphenol A