Adolescent Exposure to Bisphenol-A Increases Anxiety and Sucrose Preference but Impairs Spatial Memory in Rats Independent of Sex

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Peer-Reviewed Article

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The endocrine disruptor Bisphenol-A (BPA) has been shown to modulate estrogenic, androgenic, and anti-androgenic effects. The effects of BPA exposure during early organizational periods of development have been well documented. The current study focuses on the effects of short term, low-dose BPA exposure on anxiety, spatial memory and sucrose preference in adolescent rats. Seven week old Sprague Dawley rats (n=18 male, n=18 female) received daily subcutaneous injections (40µg/kg body weight) of BPA or vehicle for 12 days. Starting on day 6 of injections, subjects were tested on the elevated plus maze which provides a measure of anxiety, the open field test which provides a measure of anxiety and locomotor activity, and object placement, a measure of spatial memory. On the twelfth day of BPA administration, sucrose preference was tested using a standard two-bottle choice (tap versus sucrose solution). All rats gained weight during the study; there was a main effect of sex, but not BPA treatment on body weight. The results indicate that BPA exposure, regardless of sex, increased anxiety on both the elevated plus maze and open field. Spatial memory was impaired on the object recognition task with BPA animals spending significant less time with the object in the novel location than controls. Finally, a significant increase in sucrose consumption for both male and female subjects exposed to BPA was observed. The current data shows that short term BPA exposure, below the current reference safe daily limit of 50µg/kg day set by the United States Environmental Protection Agency, during adolescent development increases anxiety, impairs spatial memory, and increases sucrose consumption independent of sex.



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