The CLARITY-BPA experiment, a large collaboration between the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, the National Toxicology Program, and the US Food and Drug Administration, is designed to test the effects of bisphenol A (BPA) on a variety of endocrine systems and end points. The specific aim of this subproject was to test the effect of BPA exposure on thyroid functions and thyroid hormone action in the developing brain. Timed-pregnant National Center for Toxicological Research Sprague-Dawley rats (strain code 23) were dosed by gavage with vehicle control (0.3% carboxymethylcellulose) or one of five doses of BPA [2.5, 25, 250, 2500, or 25,000 µg/kg body weight (bw) per day] or ethinyl estradiol (EE) at 0.05 or 0.50 µg/kg bw/d (n = 8 for each group) beginning on gestational day 6. Beginning on postnatal day (PND) 1 (day of birth is PND 0), the pups were directly gavaged with the same dose of vehicle, BPA, or EE. We also obtained a group of animals treated with 3 ppm propylthiouracil in the drinking water and an equal number of concordant controls. Neither BPA nor EE affected serum thyroid hormones or thyroid hormone‒sensitive end points in the developing brain at PND 15. In contrast, propylthiouracil (PTU) reduced serum T4 to the expected degree (80% reduction) and elevated serum TSH. Few effects of PTU were observed in the male brain and none in the female brain. As a result, it is difficult to interpret the negative effects of BPA on the thyroid in this rat strain because the thyroid system appears to respond differently from that of other rat strains.
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