Transgenerational effects of BPA on female reproduction

Sci Total Environ. 2019 Oct 1;685:1294-1305. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.06.029. Epub 2019 Jun 4.


Bisphenol A (BPA) is an abundant environmental contaminant and studies have shown the presence of BPA in the urine of over 90% of population tested in Canada and USA. In addition to its reported harmful effects, there is concern for its transgenerational effects. For a compound to induce transgenerational effect, an epigenetic mark should be mitotically and meiotically stable without reprogramming in primordial germ cells and post fertilization embryos. In the present study, female zebrafish were treated with an environmental dose (20 μg/L) of BPA and then crossed with untreated males. To assess epigenetic effects, transcript levels of several genes involved in female reproduction were measured in adult and in 24 hpf embryos up to F3 generation. Exposure to BPA affected adult female fertility up to F2 generation. In F0, F1 and F2 ovaries transcript levels for several genes involved in reproduction, including esr, star, lhcgr and fshr were affected. To investigate epigenetic mechanisms of gene expression modulation, we studied promoter DNA methylation. Among genes involved in gonadal differentiation, amh transcript level was reduced in 24 hpf embryos, up to the F3 generation. Variation in amh transcript level was associated with hyper-methylation of its promoter and changes in H3K4me3/H3K27me3 enrichment, coherent with gene silencing. The findings provide evidence for transgenerational effects of BPA in zebrafish and demonstrate that amh is susceptible to stable epigenetic alterations. CAPSULE: Transgenerational effects of BPA on female reproductive physiology.

Keywords: Bisphenol A; DNA methylation; Female reproduction; Histone modification; Transgenerational inheritance.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / toxicity*
  • DNA Methylation
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Female
  • Histones
  • Phenols / toxicity*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic
  • Reproduction / drug effects*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*
  • Zebrafish


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Histones
  • Phenols
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • histone H3 trimethyl Lys4
  • bisphenol A