Bisphenol A (BPA) is an estrogenic environmental toxin widely used in the production of plastics and ubiquitous human exposure to this chemical has been proposed to be a potential risk to human health. Exposure to BPA can negatively impact sperm quality. However, the mechanism remains largely unknown. The objectives of this study were to assess the role of BPA on sperm quality and explore the possible mechanisms. The Wistar male rats (aged 28 days) were administered BPA by oral gavage for 28 days at dose of 50, 100 and 200 mg/kg/day; meanwhile, the negative control with corn oil (0 mg/kg/day BPA) and positive control with E2 at the dose of 100 g/kg/day. The sperm density, sperm activity and sperm survival rate were analyzed byCASA system, and the sperm abnormality rate was analyzed by improved Papanicolaou stained. The protein expression levels of Src/p-Src, ERK1/2, p-ERK1/2 and CREB/p-CREB were detected by Western bolt. The results showed that the body weight gain, testes weight, testis coefficient, sperm density, sperm activity, sperm survival rate and protein expression levels of p-ERK1, p-ERK2 and p-CREB decreased, but the sperm abnormality rate increased with increasing BPA concentrations. There were positive correlations between sperm density, sperm activity and sperm survival rate with protein expression levels of p-ERK1, p-ERK2 and p-CREB, and negative correlations between sperm abnormality rate with the protein expression levels of p-ERK1, p-ERK2 and p-CREB. Results from the structural equation model demonstrated that BPA retained a significant negative effect to p-ERK, whereas p-ERK retained a significant positive effect to sperm quality and acted as the mediate variable. This study provides a novel insight regarding the potential role of p-ERK1 and p-ERK2 protein kinase on reproductive toxicity of BPA. The adverse effects of BPA on adult male sperm quality may be through the induction of the disruption of ERK signal pathway. However, additional research is needed to confirm our findings and to further test the suggested potential mechanisms.
- Bisphenol A
- ERK signal pathway
- sperm quality
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis