Bisphenol A exposure enhances atherosclerosis in WHHL rabbits.
PLoS One. 2014 ;9(10):e110977. Epub 2014 Oct 21. PMID: 25333893
Bisphenol A (BPA) is an environmental endocrine disrupter. Excess exposure to BPA may increase susceptibility to many metabolic disorders, but it is unclear whether BPA exposure has any adverse effects on the development of atherosclerosis. To determine whether there are such effects, we investigated the response of Watanabe heritable hyperlipidemic (WHHL) rabbits to 400-µg/kg BPA per day, administered orally by gavage, over the course of 12 weeks and compared aortic and coronary atherosclerosis in these rabbits to the vehicle group using histological and morphometric methods. In addition, serum BPA, cytokines levels and plasma lipids as well as pathologic changesin liver, adipose and heart were analyzed. Moreover, we treated human umbilical cord vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) and rabbit aortic smooth muscle cells (SMCs) with different doses of BPA to investigate the underlying molecular mechanisms involved in BPA action(s). BPA treatment did not change theplasma lipids and body weights of the WHHL rabbits; however, the gross atherosclerotic lesion area in the aortic arch was increased by 57% compared to the vehicle group. Histological and immunohistochemical analyses revealed marked increases in advanced lesions (37%) accompanied by smooth muscle cells (60%) but no significant changes in the numbers of macrophages. With regard to coronary atherosclerosis, incidents of coronary stenosis increased by 11% and smooth muscle cells increased by 73% compared to the vehicle group. Furthermore, BPA-treated WHHL rabbits showed increased adipose accumulation and hepatic and myocardial injuries accompanied by up-regulation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and inflammatory and lipid metabolism markers in livers. Treatment with BPA also induced the expression of ER stress and inflammation related genes in cultured HUVECs. These results demonstratefor the first time that BPA exposure may increase susceptibility to atherosclerosis in WHHL rabbits.