Effects of exposure to bisphenol A and ethinyl estradiol on the gut microbiota of parents and their offspring in a rodent model

Gut Microbes. 2016 Nov;7(6):471-485. doi: 10.1080/19490976.2016.1234657. Epub 2016 Sep 13.


Gut dysbiosis may result in various diseases, such as metabolic and neurobehavioral disorders. Exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs), including bisphenol A (BPA) and ethinyl estradiol (EE), especially during development, may also increase the risk for such disorders. An unexplored possibility is that EDC-exposure might alter the gut microbial composition. Gut flora and their products may thus be mediating factors for the disease-causing effects of these chemicals. To examine the effects of EDCs on the gut microbiome, female and male monogamous and biparental California mice (Peromyscus californicus) were exposed to BPA (50 mg/kg feed weight) or EE (0.1 ppb) or control diet from periconception through weaning. 16s rRNA sequencing was performed on bacterial DNA isolated from fecal samples, and analyses performed for P0 and F1 males and females. Both BPA and EE induced generational and sex-dependent gut microbiome changes. Many of the bacteria, e.g. Bacteroides, Mollicutes, Prevotellaceae, Erysipelotrichaceae, Akkermansia, Methanobrevibacter, Sutterella, whose proportions increase with exposure to BPA or EE in the P0 or F1 generation are associated with different disorders, such as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), metabolic disorders, and colorectal cancer. However, the proportion of the beneficial bacterium, Bifidobacterium, was also elevated in fecal samples of BPA- and EE-exposed F1 females. Intestinal flora alterations were also linked to changes in various metabolic and other pathways. Thus, BPA and EE exposure may disrupt the normal gut flora, which may in turn result in systemic effects. Probiotic supplementation might be an effective means to mitigate disease-promoting effects of these chemicals.

Keywords: DOHaD; Peromyscus; bacteria; california mice; endocrine disrupting chemicals; estrogens; metabolic pathway.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Bacteria / genetics
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / toxicity*
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Ethinyl Estradiol / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology*
  • Male
  • Peromyscus / microbiology*
  • Phenols / toxicity*


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Phenols
  • Ethinyl Estradiol
  • bisphenol A