Sex-dependent dysregulation of human neutrophil responses by bisphenol A

Environ Health. 2021 Jan 7;20(1):5. doi: 10.1186/s12940-020-00686-8.


Background: In the present study, we aimed to investigate selected functions of human neutrophils exposed to bisphenol A (BPA) under in vitro conditions. As BPA is classified among xenoestrogens, we compared its action and effects with those of 17β-estradiol (E2).

Methods: Chemotaxis of neutrophils was examined using the Boyden chamber. Their phagocytosis and nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate hydrogen (NADPH) oxidase activity were assessed via Park's method with latex beads and Park's test with nitroblue tetrazolium. To assess the total concentration of nitric oxide (NO), the Griess reaction was utilized. Flow cytometry was used to assess the expression of cluster of differentiation (CD) antigens. The formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) was analyzed using a microscope (IN Cell Analyzer 2200 system). Expression of the investigated proteins was determined using Western blot.

Results: The analysis of results obtained for both sexes demonstrated that after exposure to BPA, the chemotactic capacity of neutrophils was reduced. In the presence of BPA, the phagocytic activity was found to be elevated in the cells obtained from women and reduced in the cells from men. Following exposure to BPA, the percentage of neutrophils with CD14 and CD284 (TLR4) expression, as well as the percentage of cells forming NETs, was increased in the cells from both sexes. The stimulatory role of BPA and E2 in the activation of NADPH oxidase was observed only in female cells. On the other hand, no influence of E2 on the expression of CD14 and CD284, chemotaxis, phagocytosis, and the amount of NET-positive neutrophils was found for both sexes. The study further showed that BPA intensified NO production and iNOS expression in the cells of both sexes. In addition, intensified expression of all tested PI3K-Akt pathway proteins was observed in male neutrophils.

Conclusions: The study demonstrated the influence of BPA on neutrophil functions associated with locomotion and pathogen elimination, which in turn may disturb the immune response of these cells in both women and men. Analysis of the obtained data showed that the effect of this xenoestrogen on the human neutrophils was more pronounced than E2.

Keywords: 17β-estadiol; Bisphenol A; Neutrophils; Nitric oxide.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / toxicity*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cell Movement / drug effects
  • Endocrine Disruptors / toxicity*
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Estradiol / pharmacology
  • Extracellular Traps / drug effects
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • NADPH Oxidases / metabolism
  • Neutrophils / drug effects*
  • Neutrophils / physiology
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Phagocytosis / drug effects
  • Phenols / toxicity*
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Young Adult


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Phenols
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Estradiol
  • NADPH Oxidases
  • bisphenol A