Effects of Bisphenol A on reproductive toxicity and gut microbiota dysbiosis in male rats

Ruijing Liu, Dongbao Cai, Xusheng Li, Boping Liu, Jiali Chen, Xinwei Jiang, Haiwei Li, Zhenhua Li, Katja Teerds, Jianxia Sun, Weibin Bai*, Yulong Jin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Bisphenol A (BPA) is an environmental endocrine disruptor. Recent studies have shown an association between decreased spermatogenesis and gut microbiota alteration. However, the potential associations and mechanisms of BPA exposure on spermatogenesis, hormone production, and gut microbiota remain unknown. This study aims to investigate BPA-induced male reproductive toxicity and the potential link with gut microbiota dysbiosis. Male Sprague Dawley rats were exposed to BPA at different doses by oral gavage for thirty consecutive days. The extent of testicular damage was evaluated by basic parameters of body weight and hematoxylin-eosin (H&E) staining. Next, we determined the mRNA levels and protein levels of apoptosis, histone-related factors, and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway in testes. Finally, 16 S rDNA sequencing was used to analyze gut microbiota composition after BPA exposure. BPA exposure damaged testicular histology, significantly decreased sperm count, and increased sperm abnormalities. In addition, BPA exposure caused oxidative stress and cell apoptosis in testes. The levels of histone (H2A, H3) were significantly increased, while ubiquitin histone H2A (ub-H2A) and ubiquitin histone H2B (ub-H2B) were markedly reduced. Furthermore, BPA activated the PI3K and AKT expression, but the protein expressions of mTOR and 4EBP1 in testes were inhibited significantly. Additionally, the relative abundance of class Gammaproteobacteria, and order Betaproteobacteriales was significantly higher when treated with a high dose of BPA compared to the control group, which was negatively correlated with testosterone level. This study highlights the relationship between BPA-induced reproductive toxicity and gut microbiota disorder and provides new insights into the prevention and treatment of BPA-induced reproductive damage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113623
JournalEcotoxicology and Environmental Safety
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2022


  • Apoptosis
  • Bisphenol A
  • Gut microbiota
  • Hormone
  • Male reproduction
  • Mammalian target of rapamycin


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