Washington: Researchers have suggested that fetal exposure to a commonly used plasticizer Bisphenol A, or BPA, found in water bottles, soup can liners, could increase the risk for prostate cancer later in life.
Lead author Gail Prins, professor of physiology at University of Illinois at Chicago, said that their research provides the first direct evidence that exposure to BPA during development, at the levels we see in our day-to-day lives, increases the risk for prostate cancer in human prostate tissue.
Prins said that the findings of adverse effects of BPA in human tissue are highly relevant and should encourage agencies like the Food and Drug Administration to re-evaluate their policies in the near future.
Prins investigated the effect of BPA on human cells by implanting human prostate stem cells taken from deceased young-adult men into mice. Prostate stem cells are very long-lived. They arise during early fetal development and produce and maintain a man's prostate tissue throughout his life.
To mimic exposure to BPA during embryonic development, for two weeks following implantation the mice were fed BPA-in amounts in line with those seen in pregnant American women-as the cells produced humanized prostate tissue.
Prinsa said that the amount of BPA we fed the mice was equivalent to levels ingested by the average person.
After the tissue was allowed to mature for one month, the mice were given estrogen to mimic the naturally rising estrogen levels seen in aging men. This rise in estrogen later in life is one of the known drivers of prostate cancer .
The study has been published online in the journal Endocrinology.
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