Possible Obesogenic Effects of Bisphenols Accumulation in the Human Brain

Sci Rep. 2018 May 29;8(1):8186. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-26498-y.


Evidence of bisphenols' obesogenic effects on humans is mixed and inconsistent. We aimed to explore the presence of bisphenol A (BPA), bisphenol F (BPF) and chlorinated BPA (ClBPA), collectively called the bisphenols, in different brain regions and their association with obesity using post-mortem hypothalamic and white matter brain material from twelve pairs of obese (body mass index (BMI) >30 kg/m2) and normal-weight individuals (BMI <25 kg/m2). Mean ratios of hypothalamus:white matter for BPA, BPF and ClBPA were 1.5, 0.92, 0.95, respectively, suggesting no preferential accumulation of the bisphenols in the grey matter (hypothalamic) or white matter-enriched brain areas. We observed differences in hypothalamic concentrations among the bisphenols, with highest median level detected for ClBPA (median: 2.4 ng/g), followed by BPF (2.2 ng/g) and BPA (1.2 ng/g); similar ranking was observed for the white matter samples (median for: ClBPA-2.5 ng/g, BPF-2.3 ng/g, and BPA-1.0 ng/g). Furthermore, all bisphenol concentrations, except for white-matter BPF were associated with obesity (p < 0.05). This is the first study reporting the presence of bisphenols in two distinct regions of the human brain. Bisphenols accumulation in the white matter-enriched brain tissue could signify that they are able to cross the blood-brain barrier.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / adverse effects
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / analysis
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / metabolism*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Brain / metabolism*
  • Chlorophenols / adverse effects
  • Chlorophenols / analysis
  • Chlorophenols / metabolism*
  • Endocrine Disruptors / adverse effects
  • Endocrine Disruptors / analysis
  • Endocrine Disruptors / metabolism*
  • Environmental Exposure / adverse effects
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis
  • Environmental Pollutants / adverse effects
  • Environmental Pollutants / analysis
  • Environmental Pollutants / metabolism*
  • Halogenation
  • Humans
  • Hypothalamus / metabolism
  • Obesity / chemically induced
  • Obesity / metabolism*
  • Phenols / adverse effects
  • Phenols / analysis
  • Phenols / metabolism*
  • White Matter / metabolism


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Chlorophenols
  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Phenols
  • bisphenol F
  • bisphenol A