Experimental BPA Exposure and Glucose-Stimulated Insulin Response in Adult Men and Women

J Endocr Soc. 2018 Sep 12;2(10):1173-1187. doi: 10.1210/js.2018-00151. eCollection 2018 Oct 1.


Context: Human cross-sectional and animal studies have shown an association of the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) with insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and other metabolic diseases, but no human experimental study has investigated whether BPA alters insulin/C-peptide secretion.

Design: Men and postmenopausal women (without diabetes) were orally administered either the vehicle or a BPA dose of 50 µg/kg body weight, which has been predicted by US regulators (Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency) to be the maximum, safe daily oral BPA dose over the lifetime. Insulin response was assessed in two cross-over experiments using an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT; experiment 1) and a hyperglycemic (HG) clamp (experiment 2). Main outcomes were the percentage change of BPA session measures relative to those of the control session.

Results: Serum bioactive BPA after experimental exposure was at levels detected in human biomonitoring studies. In the OGTT, a strong positive correlation was found between hemoglobin A1c(HbA1c) and the percentage change in the insulinogenic index (Spearman = 0.92), an indicator of early-phase insulin response, and the equivalent C-peptide index (Pearson = 0.97). In the HG clamp study, focusing on the later-phase insulin response to a stable level of glucose, several measures of insulin and C-peptide appeared suppressed during the BPA session relative to the control session; the change in insulin maximum concentration (Cmax) was negatively correlated with HbA1c and the Cmax of bioactive serum BPA.

Conclusions: This exploratory study suggests that BPA exposure to a dose considered safe by US regulators may alter glucose-stimulated insulin response in humans.

Keywords: C-peptide; HbA1c; bisphenol A; hyperglycemic clamp; insulin; oral glucose tolerance test.