Varying Susceptibility of the Female Mammary Gland toIn UteroWindows of BPA Exposure
In utero exposure to the endocrine disrupting compound bisphenol A (BPA) is known to disrupt mammary gland development and increase tumor susceptibility in rodents. It is unclear whether different periods of in utero development might be more susceptible to BPA exposure. We exposed pregnant CD-1 mice to BPA at different times during gestation that correspond to specific milestones of in utero mammary gland development. The mammary glands of early-life and adult female mice, exposed in utero to BPA, were morphologically and molecularly (estrogen receptor-α and Ki67) evaluated for developmental abnormalities. We found that BPA treatment occurring before mammary bud invasion into the mesenchyme [embryonic day (E)12.5] incompletely resulted in the measured phenotypes of mammary gland defects. Exposing mice up to the point at which the epithelium extends into the precursor fat pad (E16.5) resulted in a nearly complete BPA phenotype and exposure during epithelial extension (E15.5 to E18.5) resulted in a partial phenotype. Furthermore, the relative differences in phenotypes between exposure windows highlight the substantial correlations between early-life molecular changes (estrogen receptor-α and Ki67) in the stroma and the epithelial elongation defects in mammary development. These data further implicate BPA action in the stroma as a critical mediator of epithelial phenotypes.