, Volume 74, Issue 2, pp 92-98

Effects of xenoestrogen bisphenol A on uterine and pituitary weight, serum prolactin levels and immunoreactive prolactin cells in ovariectomized Wistar rats

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Considerable attention has currently been focused on bisphenol A (BPA), an environmental endocrine disrupting chemical that has oestrogenic activity. In vitro and in vivo short-term assays have shown that BPA is weakly estrogenic. In addition, the issue of species- and strain-differences in susceptibility to BPA was raised. The treatment of ovariectomized (OVX) Wistar rats with BPA at doses of 11–250 mg/kg per day, s.c., for 7 days, resulted in significant dose-dependent re-growth of uterus in uterotrophic assay. Additionally, the stimulation of anterior pituitary gland growth and induction of hyperprolactinaemia, as determined by wet organ weight and radioimmunoassay (RIA), respectively, were also dose-dependent (at 128 and 250 mg/kg per day, P < 0.05). Prolactin immunostaining of anterior pituitary glands revealed that BPA at a dose of 250 mg/kg per day increased the number of prolactin-immunopositive cells by 63% compared to OVX rats. These results demonstrate that the reproductive tract and neuroendocrine axis of Wistar rats are able to respond to BPA. Furthermore, the pituitary gland hypertrophy and hyperprolactinaemia can be mediated, at least partly, by increase in number of prolactin-immunoreactive cells. The long-term consequences of this proliferation are yet unknown but neoplasm formation is an obvious possibility.

Received: 27 October 1999 / Accepted: 30 November 1999