Impairment of steroidogenesis and follicle development after bisphenol A exposure during pregnancy and lactation in the ovaries of Mongolian gerbils aged females

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2023-05-01

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The ovaries regulate fertility and hormonal control in females, and aging is a crucial factor in this process, when ovarian function is drastically impacted. Exogenous endocrine disruptors may accelerate this process, acting as the main agents in decreased female fertility and hormonal imbalance, since they impact different features related to reproduction. In the present study, we demonstrate the implications of exposure of adult mothers to the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A (BPA) during pregnancy and lactation on their ovarian function during the transition to later in life (aging). The follicle population of BPA exposed ovaries showed impairment in the development of follicles to the mature stages, with growing follicles being halted in the early stages. Atretic and early-atretic follicles were also enhanced. Expression of estrogen and androgen receptors in the follicle population demonstrated impairment in signaling function: ERβ was highly expressed in follicles from BPA exposed females, which also showed a higher incidence of early atresia of developed follicles. ERβ1 wild-type isoform was also enhanced in BPA-exposed ovaries, compared to its variant isoforms. In addition, steroidogenesis was targeted by BPA exposure: aromatase and 17-β-HSD were reduced, whereas 5-α reductase was enhanced. This modulation was reflected in serum levels of estradiol and testosterone, which decreased in BPA-exposed females. Imbalances in steroidogenesis impair the development of follicles and play an important role in follicular atresia. Our study demonstrated that BPA exposure in two windows of susceptibility – gestation and lactation – had implications during aging, enhancing perimenopausal and infertile features.

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Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology, v. 566-567.

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