The research team, headed by Marta Schuhmacher, developed a pharmacokinetic model known as P-PBPK, which is "tailor made" for each person in the study that involved 100 pregnant women: it detects the moment that the bisphenol A comes into contact with the organism through ingestion, inhalation or the skin. From this point on the model monitors it and analyses that effects it has during its journey through the organism until it is flushed out of the body.
‘The model will provide information in real time at which month the fetus is most exposed to the toxic chemical bisphenol A.’
Exactly how bisphenol A reacts when it is in the body depends on each person and a wide variety of variables (size, age, type of breathing, whether medication is being taken or not, etc.). The model that has been designed at the URV makes it possible to personalize all this information in real time, reveals the moment at which the fetus is most exposed to the chemical - in this case, after six months of pregnancy. It also provides more accurate determinations of the effects that exposure to this compound can have on an individual's health.
The scientists monitored the women in the study after the first term of pregnancy, after the birth and then during breastfeeding. For the moment, the research has determined how much bisphenol A reaches the fetus through the mother and they are now studying the effects it has in each particular case. This means that personalized recommendations can be made about changes in habits and diet to reduce the impact of this chemical.
The challenge now is to determine what probabilities patients have of developing metabolic disorders, reproductive problems, immunological conditions or neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's or Alzheimer's, since the concentration of this compound in the organism can affect the action of certain biomarkers that predispose to these diseases.
This research is part of the European project HEALS (Health and Environment-wide Associations via Large population Surveys), in which 29 secondary schools and research centers are taking part.