The Endocrine societyWe earlier reported that higher BPA levels are usually observed among women with PCOS. Known to be associated with female infertility, exposure to environmental levels BPA when in the womb and early life it appears could also cause long lasting damage to testicular function. These findings were revealed according to a research conducted on animals. This chemical present in placenta has the ability to pass from a mother to her breast milk.

Researchers observed harmful effects of BPA in their male research at cellular level and particularly in leydig cells. These cells in the testis secrete testosterone are known to support male fertility. They further revealed after birth, these cells steadily obtain the ability for testosterone secretion. It was observed that male offspring’s of female rats who received BPA during pregnancy had decreased testosterone secretion.

“We are seeing changes in the testis function of rats after exposure to BPA levels that are lower than what the Food and Drug Administration and Environmental Protection Agency consider safe exposure levels for humans. This is concerning because large segments of the population, including pregnant and nursing mothers, are exposed to this chemical,” quotes Benson Akingbemi, PhD, the research’s lead author and an associate professor at Auburn (Ala.) University.

The mothers were fed with BPA in olive oil at a dose of either 2.5 or 25 micrograms of BPA per kilogram of body weight. Researchers share that this is below the daily upper limit of safe exposure for humans that is 50 micrograms per kilogram of body weight. The control group of pregnant rats did not receive olive oil without BPA and male offspring after weaning at 21 days of age did not receive further exposure to BPA.

“Although BPA exposure stopped at 21 days of age, BPA’s long effects on Leydig cells, which were seen immediately at the end of exposure and at 35 days, remained apparent until 90 days of age, when the rats reached adulthood. Therefore, the early life period is a sensitive window of exposure to BPA and exposure at this time may affect testis function into adulthood” shares Akingbemi.

Researchers observed the progression of leydig cells in the male offspring with a combination of analytical methods. The capacity for testosterone secretion was evaluated at 21, 35 and 90 days of age. Male offspring after early-life exposure to BPA had lesser amount of testosterone secreted per leydig cell as compared to offspring from control unexposed animals.

These results were presented at The Endocrine Society’s 92nd Annual Meeting in San Diego.