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BPA alters development of in vitro ova and could increase risk of Down syndrome
Date:9/21/2011

Researchers at Universitat Autnoma de Barcelona, in collaboration with the Vall d'Hebron Hospital Fetal Tissue Bank, the Department of Gynaecology and the Research Unit of Paediatric Endocrinology, analysed the effects of Bisphenol A (BPA), a polymer widely used to manufacture plastics, in an in vitro culture of ovaries. The research demonstrated that exposure to this substance gravely altered the development of oocytes and future ova, possibly diminishing the fertility of a woman's offspring and at the same time increasing the risk of Down Syndrome in following generations.

The research, published in Human Reproduction, was carried out with a culture of 21,570 in vitro oocytes. Results demonstrated that exposure to Bisphenol A in concentration levels permitted by health authorities is harmful to the fetus. BPA reduces the number of oocytes (cells which develop into ova) and therefore can affect negatively a woman's fertility and double the risk of chromosome exchange during the cell division process. Specific observations of chromosome 21 in the development of 90 oocytes revealed that exposure to BPA could increase the risk of Down Syndrome in the future offspring of the fetus.

The research provides conclusive data for the debate on how BPA affects the health of individuals. Previous studies on mice and worms demonstrated that reproduction is affected and that exposure to BPA during gestation affects the viability and quality of the cells which later become ova developing in the fetus.

For the first time, human cells were used in a research to analyse the process of cell division of the oocytes - meiosis - in which chromosomes join and exchange material, i.e. meiotic recombination. Oocytes were cultured for 7, 14 or 21 days in different environments, with the presence of BPA and in control cultures without the substance. Data obtained in vitro with human cells was practically identical to that obtained with in vivo animal
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Contact: Montserrat Garcia Caldes
Montserrat.garcia.caldes@uab.cat
34-935-811-905
Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona
Source:Eurekalert

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