Bisphenol A (BPA) exposure may put females at greater risk of damage from stress as compared to males, reveals a new study.
The study from a University of Cincinnati (UC) found that heart function and blood pressure in mice exposed to BPA from birth though young adulthood are affected differently in males and females.
Researchers found that in young BPA exposed female mice, the heart is more sensitive to stress-induced ischemic damage in a way not observed in untreated female mice.
Researcher Scott Belcher said that in BPA-exposed female mice, isoproterenol, a drug that leads to hypertrophy (tissue enlargement) by mimicking some effects of a heart attack, caused increased heart muscle damage along with accumulation of collagen, an indicator of fibrosis or scarring, in the heart.
In male mice BPA alone increased fibrosis, however researchers did not observe an additional increase in fibrosis, ischemic damage, or hypertrophy in response to isoproterenol treatments.
BPA, an environmental pollutant with estrogen-like activity, is used to make polycarbonate plastic and epoxy resins and is a common contaminant of many packaged foods and beverages. Numerous studies have linked BPA to neurological defects, diabetes and breast and prostate cancer.
Belcher added that the results of this study find heart and blood pressure effects in male and female mice, with females seemingly at greater risk for harm. They used an isoproterenol model that in some ways mimics damage that can occur during a heart attack. For female mice exposed to BPA there was a severe increase in the sensitivity to cardiotoxic damage. This effect was especially striking because females are typically protected.
The findings are published online in the journal Endocrinology.