Proteomics and disease network associations evaluation of environmentally relevant Bisphenol A concentrations in a human 3D neural stem cell model

Front Cell Dev Biol. 2023 Aug 16:11:1236243. doi: 10.3389/fcell.2023.1236243. eCollection 2023.


Bisphenol A (BPA) exposure is associated with a plethora of neurodevelopmental abnormalities and brain disorders. Previous studies have demonstrated BPA-induced perturbations to critical neural stem cell (NSC) characteristics, such as proliferation and differentiation, although the underlying molecular mechanisms remain under debate. The present study evaluated the effects of a repeated-dose exposure of environmentally relevant BPA concentrations during the in vitro 3D neural induction of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs), emulating a chronic exposure scenario. Firstly, we demonstrated that our model is suitable for NSC differentiation during the early stages of embryonic brain development. Our morphological image analysis showed that BPA exposure at 0.01, 0.1 and 1 µM decreased the average spheroid size by day 21 (D21) of the neural induction, while no effect on cell viability was detected. No alteration to the rate of the neural induction was observed based on the expression of key neural lineage and neuroectodermal transcripts. Quantitative proteomics at D21 revealed several differentially abundant proteins across all BPA-treated groups with important functions in NSC proliferation and maintenance (e.g., FABP7, GPC4, GAP43, Wnt-8B, TPPP3). Additionally, a network analysis demonstrated alterations to the glycolytic pathway, potentially implicating BPA-induced changes to glycolytic signalling in NSC proliferation impairments, as well as the pathophysiology of brain disorders including intellectual disability, autism spectrum disorders, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This study enhances the current understanding of BPA-related NSC aberrations based mostly on acute, often high dose exposures of rodent in vivo and in vitro models and human GWAS data in a novel human 3D cell-based model with real-life scenario relevant prolonged and low-level exposures, offering further mechanistic insights into the ramifications of BPA exposure on the developing human brain and consequently, later life neurological disorders.

Keywords: DOHaD; bisphenol A; human induced pluripotent stem cells; neural stem cells; new approach methodology.

Grants and funding

This research has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 812660 (DohART-NET) and the Hungarian Grants Nos 2020-1.1.5-GYORSÍTÓSÁV-2021-00016 and TKP2021-EGA-28 from the National Research, Development and Innovation Fund.