Working memory in bisphenol-A treated middle-aged ovariectomized rats

Steven L. Neese, Suren B. Bandara, Susan L. Schantz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over 90% of the U.S. population has detectable bisphenol-A (BPA) in their urine according to recent biomonitoring data. BPA is best known for its estrogenic properties, and most rodent research on the nervous system effects of BPA has focused on determining if chronic exposures during pre- and perinatal development have organizational effects on brain development and behavior. Estrogens also have important impacts on brain and behavior during adulthood, particularly in females during aging, but the impact of BPA on the adult brain is less studied. We have published a series of studies documenting that chronic exposure to various estrogens including 17β-estradiol, ERβ selective SERMs and soy phytoestrogens impairs performance of middle-aged female rats on an operant working memory task. The purpose of this study was to determine if chronic oral exposure to BPA would alter working memory on this same task. Ovariectomized (OVX) middle-aged Long Evans rats were tested on an operant delayed spatial alternation (DSA) task. Rats were treated for 8-10. weeks with either a 0 (vehicle control), 5 or 50 μg/kg. bw/day oral bolus of BPA. A subset of the vehicle control rats was implanted with a Silastic implant containing 17β-estradiol (low physiological range) to serve as a positive control. All rats were tested for 25 sessions on the DSA task. BPA treatment did not influence performance accuracy on the DSA task, whereas 17β-estradiol significantly impaired performance, as previously reported. The results of this study suggest that chronic oral exposure to BPA does not alter working memory processes of middle-aged OVX rats assessed by this operant DSA task.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)46-53
Number of pages8
JournalNeurotoxicology and Teratology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Bisphenol-A
  • DSA
  • Middle-aged
  • OVX
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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