Transgenerational Effects of Bisphenol A on Gene Expression and DNA Methylation of Imprinted Genes in Brain

Endocrinology. 2018 Jan 1;159(1):132-144. doi: 10.1210/en.2017-00730.


Bisphenol A (BPA) is a ubiquitous man-made endocrine disrupting compound (EDC). Developmental exposure to BPA changes behavioral and reproductive phenotypes, and these effects can last for generations. We exposed embryos to BPA, producing two lineages: controls and BPA exposed. In the third filial generation (F3), brain tissues containing the preoptic area, the bed nucleus of the stria terminalis, and the anterior hypothalamus were collected. RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) and subsequent data analyses revealed 50 differentially regulated genes in the brains of F3 juveniles from BPA vs control lineages. BPA exposure can lead to loss of imprinting, and one of the two imprinted genes in our data set, maternally expressed gene 3 (Meg3), has been associated with EDCs and neurobehavioral phenotypes. We used quantitative polymerase chain reaction to examine the two imprinted genes in our data set, Meg3 and microRNA-containing gene Mirg (residing in the same loci). Confirming the RNA-seq, Meg3 messenger RNA was higher in F3 brains from the BPA lineage than in control brains. This was true in brains from mice produced with two different BPA paradigms. Next, we used pyrosequencing to probe differentially methylated regions of Meg3. We found transgenerational effects of BPA on imprinted genes in brain. Given these results, and data on Meg3 methylation in humans, we suggest this gene may be a biomarker indicative of early life environmental perturbation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / toxicity*
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / metabolism
  • Crosses, Genetic
  • DNA Methylation / drug effects*
  • Endocrine Disruptors / toxicity*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Fetal Development / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / drug effects*
  • Hypothalamus, Anterior / drug effects
  • Hypothalamus, Anterior / metabolism
  • Lactation
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Neurons / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Phenols / toxicity*
  • Pregnancy
  • Preoptic Area / drug effects
  • Preoptic Area / metabolism
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / agonists
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / genetics
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / metabolism
  • Random Allocation
  • Septal Nuclei / drug effects
  • Septal Nuclei / metabolism
  • Sex Characteristics


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • MEG3 non-coding RNA, mouse
  • Phenols
  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • bisphenol A