Bisphenol-A rapidly promotes dynamic changes in hippocampal dendritic morphology through estrogen receptor-mediated pathway by concomitant phosphorylation of NMDA receptor subunit NR2B

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Bisphenol-A (BPA) is known to be a potent endocrine disrupter. Evidence is emerging that estrogen exerts a rapid influence on hippocampal synaptic plasticity and the dendritic spine density, which requires activation of NMDA receptors. In the present study, we investigated the effects of BPA (ranging from 1 to 1000 nM), focusing on the rapid dynamic changes in dendritic filopodia and the expressions of estrogen receptor (ER) β and NMDA receptor, as well as the phosphorylation of NMDA receptor subunit NR2B in the cultured hippocampal neurons. A specific ER antagonist ICI 182,780 was used to examine the potential involvement of ERs. The results demonstrated that exposure to BPA (ranging from 10 to 1000 nM) for 30 min rapidly enhanced the motility and the density of dendritic filopodia in the cultured hippocampal neurons, as well as the phosphorylation of NR2B (pNR2B), though the expressions of NMDA receptor subunits NR1, NR2B, and ERβ were not changed. The antagonist of ERs completely inhibited the BPA-induced increases in the filopodial motility and the number of filopodia extending from dendrites. The increased pNR2B induced by BPA (100 nM) was also completely eliminated. Furthermore, BPA attenuated the effects of 17β-estradiol (17β-E2) on the dendritic filopodia outgrowth and the expression of pNR2B when BPA was co-treated with 17β-E2. The present results suggest that BPA, like 17β-E2, rapidly results in the enhanced motility and density of dendritic filopodia in the cultured hippocampal neurons with the concomitant activation of NMDA receptor subunit NR2B via an ER-mediated signaling pathway. Meanwhile, BPA suppressed the enhancement effects of 17β-E2 when it coexists with 17β-E2. These results provided important evidence suggesting the neurotoxicity of the low levels of BPA during the early postnatal development of the brain.

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