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Extramural Research

Grantee Research Project Results

Grantee Research Project Results

Effects of Bisphenol A on the Developing Cortex

EPA Grant Number: R834593C004
Subproject: this is subproject number 004 , established and managed by the Center Director under grant R834593
(EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).

Center: Novel Methods to Assess Effects of Bisphenol A & Phthalates on Child Development
Center Director: Schantz, Susan L.
Title: Effects of Bisphenol A on the Developing Cortex
Investigators: Schantz, Susan L.
Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign , Harvard School of Public Health , Michigan State University
EPA Project Officer: Louie, Nica
Project Period: February 15, 2010 through February 14, 2013
RFA: Children's Environmental Health and Disease Prevention Research Centers: Formative Centers (with NIEHS) (2009)
Research Category: Children's Health



Common chemicals in the environment have the potential to disrupt the role of gonadal hormones during human development. Examples include the widely used chemicals bisphenol A, which is estrogenic, and the phthalates, which are anti-androgenic. Both chemicals are the focus of this formative center proposal. Besides the potential consequences for reproductive functions, cognitive neural functions, which are also influenced by gonadal hormones, may be altered by these endocrine disruptors. The present pilot project is preliminary and within its limited scope and budget, will initially model the effects of only bisphenol A in hooded rats, an animal model where sex differences in the cerebral cortex have been documented and are known to be influenced by hormonal milieu during both the perinatal and peripubertal period. The effects of bisphenol A on neuron number, a very basic building block of function, will be explored in two cortical areas of rats, the visual cortex and the medial prefrontal cortex (PL and IL) where sex differences have been found . Separate groups of animals will be exposed to 0, 4, 40 or 400 ljg/kg/day perinatally or peripubertally. When the rats reach adulthood, the number of neurons in each cortical area will be quantified with stereological methods. In addition to their established sex differences in neuron number, these cortical regions play a role in behaviors analogous to those that will be assessed in human infants and adolescents in Projects 1 and 2.

Expected Results:

The behavioral consequences of cortical alterations will also be investigated in a visual spatial task, the radial arm maze, which consistently shows sex differences in several laboratories. As adults, all rats will be tested on a 17-arm radial maze with both baited and unbaited arms so that both reference and working memory can be tested. Within animal comparisons between behavioral performance and neuron number will be made.

Supplemental Keywords:

health effects, sensitive populations, genetic polymorphisms, epidemiology,, RFA, Health, Scientific Discipline, Health Risk Assessment, Risk Assessments, Biochemistry, Children's Health, children's vulnerablity, biological markers, developmental disorders

Main Center Abstract and Reports:
R834593    Novel Methods to Assess Effects of Bisphenol A & Phthalates on Child Development

Subprojects under this Center: (EPA does not fund or establish subprojects; EPA awards and manages the overall grant for this center).
R834593C001 Prenatal Exposure to BPA/Phthalates: Infant Physical and Behavioral Development
R834593C002 Adolescent Exposure to BPA/Phthalates Cognitive and Behavioral Development
R834593C003 Mechanisms of In Utero BPA Exposure on Fetal Gonad Development
R834593C004 Effects of Bisphenol A on the Developing Cortex

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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