MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Cheryl Rosenfeld PhD DVS
Professor of biomedical sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine
investigator in the Bond Life Sciences Center, and
research faculty member for the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurobehavioral Disorders
University of Missouri
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: My laboratory has been examining the effects of developmental exposure to the endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC), bisphenol A (BPA) on later neurobehavioral responses in a variety of rodent models, including California mice. This species is unique in that both parents rear the pups and they have monogamous social structure, similar to most human societies.
We had previously found that developmental exposure to BPA or another EDC, ethinyl estradiol (EE), disrupted later maternal and paternal care by F1 offspringto their F2 pups. Rodent pups use vocalizations both in the range of human hearing (20,000 hertz or below) and outside of the range of human hearing (20,000 hertz) to communicate with each other and their parents, and for the latter, such communications serve as a trigger to provide additional parental care in the form of nutrition or warmth to the pups.
Thus, in the current studies we sought to determine if exposure of the grandparents to BPA or EE could lead to disruptions in their grandoffspring (F2 generation) pup communications that might then at least partially account for the parental neglect of their F1 parents.
We found that early on female BPA pups took longer to call to their parents but later during the neonatal period they vocalized more than pups whose grandparents were not exposed to either chemical. Such vocalization changes could be due to multigenerational exposure to BPA and/or indicate that the pups are perceiving and responding to the reduced parental care and attempting but failing to signal to their F1 parents that they need more attention.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: In several human neurobehavioral disorders, in particular autism, communication deficits are observed early on, even in terms of changes in crying patterns.
Many cases of autism are not explained by genetics alone. There is concern that early exposure to chemicals, such as BPA, might be increasing the incidence of such diseases.
Our findings in this rodent model are troubling as they support that early or multigenerational exposure to BPA might affect human communication patterns, including infant crying.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: We need to better understand whether the effects observed are directly due to multigenerational exposure to BPA/EE or the fact that these groups of pups received reduced parental care. Cross-fostering approaches might help tease apart these differences. If it is multigenerational in origin, then we need to understand what brain regions regulating these behaviors are disrupted by such chemicals.
Sarah A. Johnson, Michelle J. Farrington, Claire R. Murphy, Paul D. Caldo, Leif A. McAllister, Sarabjit Kaur, Catherine Chun, Madison T. Ortega, Brittney L. Marshall, Frauke Hoffmann, Mark R. Ellersieck, A. Katrin Schenk, Cheryl S. Rosenfeld. Multigenerational effects of bisphenol A or ethinyl estradiol exposure on F2 California mice (Peromyscus californicus) pup vocalizations. PLOS ONE, 2018; 13 (6): e0199107 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0199107
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