Perinatal High-Fat Diet and Bisphenol A: Effects on Behavior and Gene Expression in the Medial Prefrontal Cortex

Leslie M. Wise, Diego Hernández-Saavedra, Stephanie M. Boas, Yuan Xiang Pan, Janice M. Juraska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Both high-fat diets (HFD) and bisphenol A (BPA), an environmental endocrine disruptor, are prevalent in industrialized societies. Previous studies have detected separate effects of BPA and HFD; however, none have assessed possible interactive effects. Here, pregnant dams consumed 0, 40, or 400 μg BPA/kg/day and were fed either a control (CON; 15.8% kcal fat) or HFD (45% kcal fat) from gestational day 2 through parturition. The pups were individually dosed with BPA from postnatal days (P) 1-10, while the dams continued to consume one of the two diets. Maternal behavior increased with the HFD while the offspring's periadolescent social play decreased with BPA, but no interactive effects were observed. Neither HFD nor BPA exposure changed performance on a social recognition task, and only BPA had an effect on the elevated plus maze. BPA increased several cytokines in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) of P10 males but not females. Expression of several genes related to hormone synthesis and receptors, inflammation, oxidative stress, and apoptosis in the mPFC on P10 and P90 were altered due to BPA and/or HFD exposure with rare interactive effects. BPA resulted in an increase in the gene expression of Esr1 in the mPFC of females on both P10 and P90. Epigenetic analysis on P90 did not show a change in methylation or in the levels of pre-mRNA or microRNA. Thus, perinatal BPA and HFD have separate effects but rarely interact.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalDevelopmental Neuroscience
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2019


  • Bisphenol A
  • Endocrine disruptor
  • Inflammation
  • Maternal behavior
  • MicroRNA
  • Social play

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Developmental Neuroscience


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