Bisphenol A Impairs Synaptic Plasticity by Both Pre- and Postsynaptic Mechanisms

Research paper by Fan Hu, Tingting Li, Huarui Gong, Zhi Chen, Yan Jin, Guangwei Xu, Ming Wang

Indexed on: 20 Apr '17Published on: 19 Apr '17Published in: Advanced Science


Bisphenol A (BPA), an environmental xenoestrogen, has been reported to induce learning and memory impairments in rodent animals. However, effects of BPA exposure on synaptic plasticity and the underlying physiological mechanisms remain elusive. Our behavioral and electrophysiological analyses show that BPA obviously perturbs hippocampal spatial memory of juvenile Sprague–Dawley rats after four weeks exposure, with significantly impaired long-term potentiation (LTP) in the hippocampus. These effects involve decreased spine density of pyramidal neurons, especially the apical dendritic spine. Further presynaptic findings show an overt inhibition of pulse-paired facilitation during electrophysiological recording, which suggest the decrease of presynaptic transmitter release and is consistent with reduced production of presynaptic glutamate after BPA exposure. Meanwhile, LTP-related glutamate receptors, NMDA receptor 2A (NR2A) and AMPA receptor 1 (GluR1), are significantly downregulated in BPA-exposed rats. Excitatory postsynaptic currents (EPSCs) results also show that EPSCNMDA, but not EPSCAMPA, is declined by 40% compared to the baseline in BPA-perfused brain slices. Taken together, these findings reveal that juvenile BPA exposure has negative effects on synaptic plasticity, which result from decreases in dendritic spine density and excitatory synaptic transmission. Importantly, this study also provides new insights into the dynamics of BPA-induced memory deterioration during the whole life of rats.