Pre-natal exposure of mice to bisphenol A elicits an endometriosis-like phenotype in female offspring

Pietro G. Signorile, Enrico P. Spugnini, Luigi Mita, Pasquale Mellone, Alfredo D'Avino, Mariangela Bianco, Nadia Diano, Lucia Caputo, Francesca Rea, Rosa Viceconte, Marianna Portaccio, Emanuela Viggiano, Gennaro Citro, Riccardo Pierantoni, Vincenzo Sica, Bruno Vincenzi, Damiano G. Mita, Feliciano Baldi, Alfonso Baldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Endometriosis is a chronic gynecological disease characterized by the growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterine cavity. Exposure to endocrine disruptors during critical period of development causes long-lasting effects, being the genital system one of the targets. This study describes the effects on female genital system caused by developmental exposure to the endocrine-disrupting chemical bisphenol A (BPA) during pre- and peri-natal development in mice. To this end, timed pregnant Balb-C mice were treated from day 1 of gestation to 7 days after delivery with BPA (100, or 1000 μg/kg/day). After delivery, pups were held for 3 months; then, pelvic organs were analyzed in their entirety and livers of both pups and moms were studied for the presence of BPA. We found in the adipose tissue surrounding the genital tracts of a consistent number of treated animals, endometriosis-like structure with the presence of both glands and stroma and expressing both estrogen receptor and HOXA-10. Moreover, cystic ovaries, adenomatous hyperplasia with cystic endometrial hyperplasia and atypical hyperplasia were significantly more frequent in treated animals respect to the controls. Finally, BPA was found in the livers of exposed moms and female offspring. In conclusion, we describe for the first time an endometriosis-like phenotype in mice, elicited by pre-natal exposition to BPA. This observation may induce to thoroughly reconsider the pathogenesis and treatment of endometriosis, considering the high incidence of endometriosis and the problems caused by associated infertility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)318-325
Number of pages8
JournalGeneral and Comparative Endocrinology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2010


  • Bisphenol A
  • Endocrine disruptor
  • Endometriosis
  • Estrogen receptor
  • HOXA-10

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology

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  • Cite this

    Signorile, P. G., Spugnini, E. P., Mita, L., Mellone, P., D'Avino, A., Bianco, M., Diano, N., Caputo, L., Rea, F., Viceconte, R., Portaccio, M., Viggiano, E., Citro, G., Pierantoni, R., Sica, V., Vincenzi, B., Mita, D. G., Baldi, F., & Baldi, A. (2010). Pre-natal exposure of mice to bisphenol A elicits an endometriosis-like phenotype in female offspring. General and Comparative Endocrinology, 168(3), 318-325.