Endocrine Disruptors and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS): Elevated Blood Levels of Bisphenol A in PCOS Women
From ENDO 2010 The Endocrine Society Annual Meeting, San Diego, June 19-22, 2010
Bisphenol A (BPA) is used primarily in the synthesis of polycarbonate plastics and is a key monomer in production of epoxy resins. It has been shown that the BPA blood levels are higher in men than in women, a finding that is attributed to androgen and BPA interactions on clearance and sex-hormone binding protein (SHBG) binding properties. Additionally, it has been found that the exposure of experimental animals to BPA adversely influences oocyte development and results in ovarian cystic morphology. The aim of the present study was the determination of BPA levels in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) compared to controls, age and body mass index (BMI) matched, as well as the investigation of the association between BPA levels and hormonal and metabolic parameters of studied subjects. Subjects included 100 normal and 71 PCOS women (NIH criteria). Anthropometric, hormonal and metabolic parameters, as well as, BPA blood levels were determined in all subjects. Patients and controls were subdivided and matched respectively in two groups, according to BMI, a lean subgroup and an obese subgroup (Table). Compared to controls, the BPA levels were significantly higher in the lean (1.12±0.10 vs 0.70±0.05, p< 0.0007) and obese PCOS women (0.97±0.08 vs 0.74±0.07, p<0.044). Additionally, significantly higher insulin and androgen levels were found between PCOS and control subgroups. A significant correlation was found between testosterone (r=0.188, p=0.03), Δ4-androstenedione (r=0.258, p=0.003) and BPA serum levels.
The findings demonstrate that, PCOS women have higher BPA blood levels compared to controls - independent of BMI - and the demonstrated positive correlations between BPA levels and androgens imply that this endocrine disruptor may play a role in the pathophysiology of this syndrome.
Kandaraki E, Chatzigeorgiou A, Palioura E, et al. Huddersfield Royal Infirmary Hosp West Yorkshire, UK; Kapodistrian University of Athens, Athens, Greece; University of Athens; and Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
Human exposure to BPA is nearly universal and recent studies involving this chemical in humans are resulting in growing concerns. Animal studies have documented a variety of endocrine effects of BPA; it acts as an endocrine disruptor. BPA and other endocrine disruptors are finally being considered to play an important role in clinical entities - including PCOS. The association of urinary BPA concentration with medical disorders and laboratory abnormalities was reviewed by Lang et al.1 Endocrine disruptors have also been shown to alter genital development and puberty, among other clinical conditions. Based on the metabolism of BPA and its endocrine effects, scientists hypothesize that the impact on children will be magnified. Although the Endocrine Society has issued a report expressing serious concerns about endocrine-disrupting compounds, including BPA, the US government health officials still cannot decide whether BPA is safe.2 The production of plastics3 will surpass 300 million tons in 2010, therefore we should aim to implement the 5Rs: reduce, reuse, recycle, rethink, and restrain! These actions may benefit all.
Fima Lifshitz, MD
References - (linked to )