Washington: Exposing developing tissue to low levels of the plastic bisphenol A (BPA) is associated to a greater incidence of prostate cancer in tissue grown from human prostate stem cells.
BPA is found in plastic water bottles and is universally prevalent, and tests indicate that almost everyone has measurable levels of the chemical in their bodies.
In this study, investigators used human prostate stem cells from organ donors to grow prostate tissue in a mouse model and found that early BPA exposure significantly increased the risk of both prostate cancer and a precancerous condition known as prostate epithelial neoplasia, or PIN.
Study lead author Gail S. Prins, Ph.D., professor of physiology and urology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, said that these results suggest that stem cells are direct BPA targets which may explain the long-lasting effects of this chemical throughout the body.
Investigators were able to observe the effects of BPA on living prostate tissue by isolating prostate stem cells from young men, then combining these cells with undifferentiated cells called mesenchyme, which, for this study, derived from rat tissue.
They then grafted this combined tissue to the kidneys of mice where the tissue developed into human prostate tissue. To simulate human BPA exposure, the investigators fed BPA at levels found in humans to the study mice for the first two weeks of the prostate-tissue formation.
One month after the tissue graft, when the prostate tissue had matured, the investigators administered estrogen and testosterone at elevated levels to the study mice to promote prostate disease.