Bisphenol A (BPA) is used in the production of polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins and found in many consumer products. Previous studies have reported that perinatal exposure to BPA through the oral route promotes the development of allergic airway inflammation. We investigated the effects of exposure to low-dose BPA during the juvenile period of development on allergic airway inflammation. Six-week-old male C3H/HeJ mice were intratracheally administered ovalbumin (OVA, 1 μg) every 2 weeks and/or BPA (0, 0.0625, 1.25, and 25 pmol/animal/week) once per week for 6 weeks. Following the final intratracheal instillation, we examined the cellular profile of the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid, histological changes and expression of inflammatory/anti-inflammatory mediators in the lungs, OVA-specific immunoglobulin (Ig) production, serum corticosterone levels, and changes in the lymphoid tissues (mediastinal lymph node (MLN) and spleen). Exposure to OVA + BPA enhanced inflammatory cell infiltration and protein expression of Th2 cytokines/chemokines (e.g. interleukin (IL)-13 and IL-33) in the lungs, OVA-specific immunoglobulin E (IgE) production, the numbers of total cells and activated antigen-presenting cells (MHC class II+ CD86+, CD11c+), as well as the production of Th2 cytokines (i.e. IL-4 and IL-5) and stromal cell-derived factor-1α in MLN cells compared to OVA exposure alone. These effects were more prominent with 0.0625 or 1.25 pmol/animal/week of BPA. Furthermore, exposure to OVA + BPA altered serum levels of anti-inflammatory corticosterone, estrogen receptor 2 messenger RNA (mRNA) expression in the lungs and spleen functionality. These findings suggest that low-dose BPA exposure may aggravate allergic airway inflammation by enhancing Th2 responses via disruption of the immune system.
Keywords: allergic airway inflammation; bisphenol A; endocrine-disrupting chemicals; immune system disruption; inflammatory/anti-inflammatory mediators.