Endocrine Disruptor Bisphenol A (BPA) Triggers Systemic Para-Inflammation and is Sufficient to Induce Airway Allergic Sensitization in Mice

Nutrients. 2020 Jan 28;12(2):343. doi: 10.3390/nu12020343.


Allergic airway diseases are accompanied by increased permeability and an inflammatory state of epithelial barriers, which are thought to be susceptible to allergen sensitization. Although exogenous drivers (proteases, allergens) of epithelial barrier disruption and sensitization are well studied, endogenous contributors (diet, xenobiotics, hormones, and metabolism) to allergic sensitization are much less understood. Xenoestrogens are synthetic or natural chemical compounds that have the ability to mimic estrogen and are ubiquitous in the food and water supply of developed countries. By interfering with the estrogen produced by the endocrine system, these compounds have the systemic potential to disrupt the homeostasis of multiple tissues. Our study examined the potential of prototypical xenoestrogen bisphenol A (BPA) to disrupt epithelial homeostasis in vitro and promote allergic responses in vivo. We found that BPA exposure in epithelial cultures in vitro significantly inhibited epithelial cell proliferation and wound healing, as well as promoted the expression of the innate alarmin cytokine TSLP in a time-and dose-dependent manner. In vivo, the exposure to BPA through water supply or inhalation induced a systemic para-inflammatory response by promoting the expression of innate inflammatory mediators in the skin, gut, and airway. In a murine tolerogenic antigen challenge model, chronic systemic exposure to BPA was sufficient to induce airway sensitization to innocuous chicken egg ovalbumin in the complete absence of adjuvants. Mechanistic studies are needed to test conclusively whether endocrine disruptors may play an upstream role in allergic sensitization via their ability to promote a para-inflammatory state.

Keywords: alarmins; allergy; asthma; bisphenol A; endocrine; estrogen; para-inflammation; xenoestrogens.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Inhalation
  • Animals
  • Asthma / chemically induced
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / toxicity*
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Drug Hypersensitivity
  • Endocrine Disruptors / toxicity*
  • Epithelial Cells / drug effects
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / chemically induced*
  • Lung / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Ovalbumin
  • Phenols / toxicity*
  • Respiratory Mucosa / cytology


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Cytokines
  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Phenols
  • Ovalbumin
  • bisphenol A