Bisphenol A induces DSB-ATM-p53 signaling leading to cell cycle arrest, senescence, autophagy, stress response, and estrogen release in human fetal lung fibroblasts

Arch Toxicol. 2018 Apr;92(4):1453-1469. doi: 10.1007/s00204-017-2150-3. Epub 2017 Dec 23.


Experimental and/or epidemiological studies suggest that prenatal exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) may delay fetal lung development and maturation and increase the susceptibility to childhood respiratory disease. However, the underlying mechanisms remain to be elucidated. In our previous study with cultured human fetal lung fibroblasts (HFLF), we demonstrated that 24-h exposure to 1 and 100 µM BPA increased GPR30 protein in the nuclear fraction. Exposure to 100 μM BPA had no effects on cell viability, but increased cytoplasmic expression of ERβ and release of GDF-15, as well as decreased release of IL-6, ET-1, and IP-10 through suppression of NFκB phosphorylation. By performing global gene expression and pathway analysis in this study, we identified molecular pathways, gene networks, and key molecules that were affected by 100, but not 0.01 and 1 µM BPA in HFLF. Using multiple genomic and proteomic tools, we confirmed these changes at both gene and protein levels. Our data suggest that 100 μM BPA increased CYP1B1 and HSD17B14 gene and protein expression and release of endogenous estradiol, which was associated with increased ROS production and DNA double-strand breaks, upregulation of genes and/or proteins in steroid synthesis and metabolism, and activation of Nrf2-regulated stress response pathways. In addition, BPA activated ATM-p53 signaling pathway, resulting in increased cell cycle arrest at G1 phase, senescence and autophagy, and decreased cell proliferation in HFLF. The results suggest that prenatal exposure to BPA at certain concentrations may affect fetal lung development and maturation, and thereby affecting susceptibility to childhood respiratory diseases.

Keywords: ATM signaling; Autophagy; Bisphenol A; CYP1B1; Cell cycle arrest; DNA double-strand breaks; Estradiol release; G1/S transition; HSD17B14; Human fetal lung fibroblasts; Nrf2; ROS; Senescence; Steroid synthesis and metabolism; p53; γ-H2AX.

MeSH terms

  • 17-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases / genetics*
  • 17-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases / metabolism
  • Air Pollutants, Occupational / toxicity*
  • Autophagy
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / toxicity*
  • Cell Cycle Checkpoints
  • Cellular Senescence / drug effects
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1B1 / genetics*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1B1 / metabolism
  • Estradiol / metabolism*
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Lung / drug effects*
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / metabolism*
  • Phenols / toxicity*
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism*
  • Up-Regulation


  • Air Pollutants, Occupational
  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2
  • NFE2L2 protein, human
  • Phenols
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • Estradiol
  • 17-Hydroxysteroid Dehydrogenases
  • HSD17B14 protein, human
  • CYP1B1 protein, human
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP1B1
  • bisphenol A