Prenatal Exposure to Bisphenol A Disrupts Naturally Occurring Bimodal DNA Methylation at Proximal Promoter of fggy, an Obesity-Relevant Gene Encoding a Carbohydrate Kinase, in Gonadal White Adipose Tissues of CD-1 Mice

Endocrinology. 2018 Feb 1;159(2):779-794. doi: 10.1210/en.2017-00711.


Exposure of mammalian fetuses to endocrine disruptors can increase the risk of adult-onset diseases. We previously showed that exposure of mouse fetuses to bisphenol A (BPA) caused adult-onset obesity. To examine roles of epigenetic changes in this delayed toxicity, we determined the effects of fetal mouse exposure to BPA on genome-wide DNA methylation and messenger RNA (mRNA) expression in gonadal white adipose tissues (WATs) by deep sequencing, bisulfite pyrosequencing, and real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. Pregnant CD-1 mice (F0) were dosed daily with 0, 5, or 500 μg/kg/d BPA during gestational days 9 to 18, and the weaned F1 animals were fed ad libitum with standard chow until they were euthanized at 19 weeks old. In the vehicle-exposed F1 animals, fggy promoter showed a clear bimodal pattern of very strong (55% to 95%) or very weak (5% to 30%) DNA methylation occurring at nearly equal incidence with no intermediate strength. Promoter hypermethylation completely suppressed mRNA expression. BPA exposure eliminated this naturally occurring dichotomy, shifting fggy promoter toward the hypomethylation state to release transcriptional suppression. The strength of Fggy mRNA expression significantly correlated with increased whole body weight and gonadal fat weight of males but not females. Bioinformatics studies showed that expression of Fggy mRNA is stronger in mouse WATs than in brown adipose tissues and enhanced in gonadal fat by diet-induced obesity. These observations suggest that prenatal exposure to BPA may disrupt the physiological bimodal nature of epigenetic regulation of fggy in mouse WATs, possibly contributing to the adult-onset obesity phenotype.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue, White / drug effects
  • Adipose Tissue, White / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / adverse effects*
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Carbohydrate Metabolism
  • DNA Methylation / drug effects
  • Endocrine Disruptors / adverse effects*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Obesity / enzymology
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / genetics*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Phenols / adverse effects*
  • Phosphotransferases / genetics
  • Phosphotransferases / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / enzymology
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / etiology
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / genetics*
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / metabolism
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / drug effects*


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Phenols
  • Phosphotransferases
  • Fggy protein, mouse
  • bisphenol A