Thursday, June 30, 2011

BPA, Mice, and Behavior - PBS Reporting

A study ( on the impact of BPA on mice, particularly male mice.  Clearly there is something going on here beyond stereotypes.  It is chemical.  But, we can't jump to the conclusion that the same is happening in humans.

The PBS report has a short interview with the researcher who led the study. 

From that interview:

And how does the maze relate to BPA exposure?
When these mice are sexually mature, their brains undergo significant remodeling that allows them to exhibit certain behaviors – like increased spatial-navigational skills in males. In humans, too, men tend to have a better ability than girls to locate in their environment – to know where they are in their environment, to remember where things are and where to find them. So when the males got to adulthood, we started them on behavioral testing in a maze that is well-recognized to test this ability. There are several holes and only one leads to the home cage. Non-BPA exposed males can almost immediately get to the correct hole. The BPA exposed male took quite a bit longer. They didn’t use the most efficient strategy and just wandered around randomly, aimlessly. When we tested the females, both the non-exposed and BPA-exposed females had similar responses. They were acting behaviorally like females.
Did they show any other signs that aren’t typical for males?
We wanted to test whether females could detect the compromised state of the males, so we set up a mate choice test. The way we assessed her interest is through preferential behavior – and in these mice that’s through nose-to-nose contact. We found that the females preferred the non-exposed males on a 2-to-1 basis.

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