Bisphenols and perfluoroalkyls alter human stem cells integrity: A possible link with infertility

Environ Res. 2023 Oct 15:235:116487. doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2023.116487. Epub 2023 Jul 5.


Bisphenols and Perfluoroalkyls are chemical compounds widely used in industry known to be endocrine disruptors (EDs). Once ingested through contaminated aliments, they mimic the activity of endogenous hormones leading to a broad spectrum of diseases. Due to the extensive use of plastic in human life, particular attention should be paid to antenatal exposure to Bisphenols and Perfluoroalkyls since they cross the placental barrier and accumulates in developing embryo. Here we investigated the effects of Bisphenol-A (BPA), Bisphenol-S (BPS), perfluorooctane-sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic-acid (PFOA), alone or combined, on human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) that share several biological features with the stem cells of blastocysts. Our data show that these EDs affect hiPSC inducing a great mitotoxicity and dramatic changes in genes involved in the maintenance of pluripotency, germline specification, and epigenetic regulation. We also evidenced that these chemicals, when combined, may have additive, synergistic but also negative effects. All these data suggest that antenatal exposure to these EDs may affect the integrity of stem cells in the developing embryos, interfering with critical stages of early human development that might be determinant for fertility. The observation that the effects of exposure to a combination of these chemicals are not easily foreseeable further highlights the need for wider awareness of the complexity of the EDs effects on human health and of the social and economic burden attributable to these compounds.

Keywords: Bisphenols; DNA methylation; Endocrine disruptors; Germline specification; Human induced pluripotent stem cells; Perfluoroalkyls.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Benzhydryl Compounds / chemistry
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / toxicity
  • Endocrine Disruptors* / toxicity
  • Epigenesis, Genetic
  • Female
  • Fertility
  • Fluorocarbons* / toxicity
  • Humans
  • Infertility*
  • Placenta
  • Pregnancy


  • bis(4-hydroxyphenyl)sulfone
  • bisphenol A
  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Fluorocarbons
  • Endocrine Disruptors