Chronic exposure to a low concentration of bisphenol A during follicle culture affects the epigenetic status of germinal vesicles and metaphase II oocytes

Chronic follicle culture exposure to low bisphenol A affects imprinting and posttranslational histone modifications in mouse oocytes, epigenetic aberrations that might contribute to aneuploidy, altered gene expression, and epigenetic disease.


Tom Trapphoff, M.Sc., Martyna Heiligentag, M.Sc., Nady El Hajj, Ph.D., Thomas Haaf, M.D., Ursula Eichenlaub-Ritter, Ph.D.

Volume 100, Issue 6, Pages 1758-1767.e1, December 2013



To determine whether exposure to low concentrations of the endocrine disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) during follicle culture and oocyte growth alters the methylation status of differentially methylated regions (DMRs) of imprinted genes and histone posttranslational modification patterns in mammalian oocytes.


Comparative and control study.


Experimental laboratory.


C57/Bl6JxCBA/Ca mice.


Exposure of oocytes to 3 nM or 300 nM BPA during follicle culture from preantral to antral stage.

Main Outcome Measure(s):

Methylation status of DMRs of maternally imprinted (Snrpn, Igf2r, and Mest) and paternally imprinted gene(s) (H19) in mouse germinal vesicle oocytes; trimethylation of histone H3K9, acetylation of histone H4K12, and distance between centromeres of sister chromatids in metaphase II oocytes.


Exposure to 3 nM BPA was associated with slightly accelerated follicle development, statistically significant increases in allele methylation errors in DMRs of maternally imprinted genes, and statistically significant decreases in histone H3K9 trimethylation and interkinetochore distance.


The disturbances in oocyte genomic imprinting and modification of posttranslational histone and centromere architecture provide the first link between low BPA exposures and induction of epigenetic changes that may contribute to chromosome congression failures and meiotic errors, and to altered gene expression that might affect health of the offspring.

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