Low-dose Bisphenol A exposure alters the functionality and cellular environment in a human cardiomyocyte model

Environ Pollut. 2023 Oct 15:335:122359. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2023.122359. Epub 2023 Aug 9.


Early embryonic development represents a sensitive time-window during which the foetus might be vulnerable to the exposure of environmental contaminants, potentially leading to heart diseases also later in life. Bisphenol A (BPA), a synthetic chemical widely used in plastics manufacturing, has been associated with heart developmental defects, even in low concentrations. This study aims to investigate the effects of environmentally relevant doses of BPA on developing cardiomyocytes using a human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived model. Firstly, a 2D in vitro differentiation system to obtain cardiomyocytes from hiPSCs (hiPSC-CMs) have been established and characterised to provide a suitable model for the early stages of cardiac development. Then, the effects of a repeated BPA exposure, starting from the undifferentiated stage throughout the differentiation process, were evaluated. The chemical significantly decreased the beat rate of hiPSC-CMs, extending the contraction and relaxation time in a dose-dependent manner. Quantitative proteomics analysis revealed a high abundance of basement membrane (BM) components (e.g., COL4A1, COL4A2, LAMC1, NID2) and a significant increase in TNNC1 and SERBP1 proteins in hiPSC-CMs treated with BPA. Network analysis of proteomics data supported altered extracellular matrix remodelling and provided a disease-gene association with well-known pathological conditions of the heart. Furthermore, upon hypoxia-reoxygenation challenge, hiPSC-CMs treated with BPA showed higher rate of apoptotic events. Taken together, our results revealed that a long-term treatment, even with low doses of BPA, interferes with hiPSC-CMs functionality and alters the surrounding cellular environment, providing new insights about diseases that might arise upon the toxin exposure. Our study contributes to the current understanding of BPA effects on developing human foetal cardiomyocytes, in correlation with human clinical observations and animal studies, and it provides a suitable model for New Approach Methodologies (NAMs) for environmental chemical hazard and risk assessment.

Keywords: Bisphenol A; Cardiomyocyte differentiation; Developmental origins of health and disease; Extracellular matrix; Human induced pluripotent stem cell; Hypoxia-reoxygenation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells* / metabolism
  • Myocytes, Cardiac*


  • bisphenol A