3 years ago

Effects of environmental Bisphenol A exposures on germ cell development and Leydig cell function in the human fetal testis

Alexandra Benachi, Yoann Deceuninck, Delphine Moison, Sébastien Messiaen, Rod Mitchell, Karen Kilcoyne, Stéphanie Pozzi-Gaudin, Gabriele Matilionyte, Virginie Rouiller-Fabre, Jean-Philippe Antignac, Marie-Justine Guerquin, Soria Eladak, Gabriel Livera, René Habert, Thierry N’Tumba-Byn

Using an organotypic culture system termed human Fetal Testis Assay (hFeTA) we previously showed that 0.01 μM BPA decreases basal, but not LH-stimulated, testosterone secreted by the first trimester human fetal testis. The present study was conducted to determine the potential for a long-term antiandrogenic effect of BPA using a xenograft model, and also to study the effect of BPA on germ cell development using both the hFETA and xenograft models.


Using the hFeTA system, first trimester testes were cultured for 3 days with 0.01 to 10 μM BPA. For xenografts, adult castrate male nude mice were injected with hCG and grafted with first trimester testes. Host mice received 10 μM BPA (~ 500 μg/kg/day) in their drinking water for 5 weeks. Plasma levels of total and unconjugated BPA were 0.10 μM and 0.038 μM respectively. Mice grafted with second trimester testes received 0.5 and 50 μg/kg/day BPA by oral gavage for 5 weeks.


With first trimester human testes, using the hFeTA model, 10 μM BPA increased germ cell apoptosis. In xenografts, germ cell density was also reduced by BPA exposure. Importantly, BPA exposure significantly decreased the percentage of germ cells expressing the pluripotency marker AP-2γ, whilst the percentage of those expressing the pre-spermatogonial marker MAGE-A4 significantly increased. BPA exposure did not affect hCG-stimulated androgen production in first and second trimester xenografts as evaluated by both plasma testosterone level and seminal vesicle weight in host mice.


Exposure to BPA at environmentally relevant concentrations impairs germ cell development in first trimester human fetal testis, whilst gonadotrophin-stimulated testosterone production was unaffected in both first and second trimester testis. Studies using first trimester human fetal testis demonstrate the complementarity of the FeTA and xenograft models for determining the respective short-term and long term effects of environmental exposures.

Publisher URL: http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0191934

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