Chronic Exposure to Bisphenol A Impairs Progesterone Receptor-mediated Signaling in the Uterus during Early Pregnancy

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Environmental and occupational exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) is a major threat to female reproductive health. Bisphenol A (BPA), an environmental toxicant that is commonly found in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, has received much attention due to its estrogenic activity and high risk of chronic exposure in human. Whereas BPA has been linked to infertility and recurrent miscarriage in women, the impact of its exposure on uterine function during early pregnancy remains unclear. In a recent publication in Endocrinology, we demonstrated that prolonged exposure to an environmental relevant dose of BPA disrupts progesterone receptor-regulated uterine functions, thus affecting uterine receptivity for embryo implantation and decidua morphogenesis, two critical events for establishment and maintenance of early pregnancy. In particular we reported a marked impairment of progesterone receptor (PGR) expression and its downstream effector HAND2 in the uterine stromal cells in response to chronic BPA exposure. In an earlier study we have shown that HAND2 controls embryo implantation by repressing fibroblast growth factor (FGF) expression and the MAP kinase signaling pathway, thus inhibiting epithelial proliferation. Interestingly we observed that downregulation of PGR and HAND2 expression in uterine stroma upon BPA exposure was associated with an enhanced activation of FGFR and MAPK signaling, aberrant proliferation, and lack of uterine receptivity in the epithelium. In addition, the proliferation and differentiation of endometrial stromal cells to decidual cells, an event critical for the maintenance of early pregnancy, was severely compromised in response to BPA. This research highlight will provide an overview of our findings and discuss the potential mechanisms by which chronic BPA impairs PGR-HAND2 pathway and adversely affects implantation and the establishment of pregnancy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalReceptors & clinical investigation
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2016


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