The environmental estrogen bisphenol A inhibits estradiol-induced hippocampal synaptogenesis

Neil J. MacLusky, Tibor Hajszan, Csaba Leranth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

161 Citations (Scopus)


Bisphenol A (BPA) is an estrogenic chemical that is widely used in the manufacture of plastics and epoxy resins. Because BPA leaches out of plastic food and drink containers, as well as the BPA-containing plastics used in dental prostheses and sealants, considerable potential exists for human exposure to this compound. In this article we show that treatment of ovariectomized rats with BPA dose-dependently inhibits the estrogen-induced formation of dendritic spine synapses on pyramidal neurons in the CA1 area of the hippocampus. Significant inhibitory effects of BPA were observed at a dose of only 40 μg/kg, below the current U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reference daily limit for human exposure. Because synaptic remodeling has been postulated to contribute to the rapid effects of estrogen on hippocampus-dependent memory, these data suggest that environmental BPA exposure may interfere with the development and expression of normal sex differences in cognitive function, via inhibition of estrogen-dependent hippocampal synapse formation. It may also exacerbate the impairment of hippocampal function observed during normal aging, as endogenous estrogen production declines.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-679
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental Health Perspectives
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005


  • Bisphenol A
  • CA1
  • Estradiol
  • Hippocampus
  • Spine synapse density

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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