Archives of Toxicology

, Volume 92, Issue 1, pp 455–468 | Cite as

Bisphenol A exposure perturbs visual function of adult cats by remodeling the neuronal activity in the primary visual pathway

  • Guangwei Xu
  • Fan HuEmail author
  • Xuan Wang
  • Bing Zhang
  • Yifeng ZhouEmail author
Organ Toxicity and Mechanisms


Bisphenol A (BPA), a common environmental xenoestrogen, has been implicated in physiological and behavioral impairment, but the neuronal basis remains elusive. Although various synaptic mechanisms have been shown to mediate BPA-induced brain deficits, there are almost no reports addressing its underlying physiological mechanisms at the individual neuron level, particularly in the primary visual system. In the present study, using multiple-channel recording technique, we recorded the responses of single neurons in the primary visual system of cats to various direction stimuli both before and after BPA exposure. The results showed that the orientation selectivity of neurons in the primary visual cortex (area 17, A17) was obviously decreased after 2 h of intravenous BPA administration (0.2 mg/kg). Moreover, there were worse performances of information transmission of A17 neurons, presenting markedly decreased signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). To some extent, these functional decreases were attributable to the altered information inputs from lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN), which showed an increased spontaneous activity. Additionally, local injection of BPA (3.3 μg/ml) in A17 resulted in an obvious increase in orientation selectivity and a decrease in neuronal activity, involving enhanced activity of fast-spiking inhibitory interneurons. In conclusion, our results first demonstrate that acute BPA exposure can restrict the visual perception of cats, mainly depending on the alteration of the LGN projection, not the intercortical interaction. Importantly, BPA-induced-brain deficits might not only be confined to the cortical level but also occur as early as at the subcortical level.


Bisphenol A Primary visual system Orientation selectivity Area 17 Lateral geniculate nucleus 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC21307024 to F.H., and NSFC31230032, 31571074 to Y.Z.), and the Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (JZ2017HGTB0200).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.

Supplementary material

204_2017_2047_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (425 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 425 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.CAS Key Laboratory of Brain Function and Diseases, School of Life SciencesUniversity of Science and Technology of ChinaHefeiPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.School of Food Science and EngineeringHefei University of TechnologyHefeiPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science, Institute of BiophysicsChinese Academy of ScienceBeijingPeople’s Republic of China

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