Environmental chemical blocks cell function

December 06, 2012

Bisphenol A, a substance found in many synthetic products, is considered to be harmful, particularly, for fetuses and babies. Researchers from the University of Bonn have now shown in experiments on cells from human and mouse tissue that this environmental chemical blocks calcium channels in cell membranes. Similar effects are elicited by drugs used to treat high blood pressure and cardiac arrhythmia. The results are now presented in the journal "Molecular Pharmacology."

The industrial chemical bisphenol A (BPA) is worldwide extensively utilized for manufacturing polycarbonates and synthetic resins. "This substance has been shown to affect the hormonal system and may have negative effects on the function of enzymes and carrier proteins," reports Prof. Dr. Dieter Swandulla from the Institute of Physiology II at the University of Bonn. BPA is associated with heart disease, diabetes, obesity, cancer, and neurological dysfunction. "It seems that fetuses and newborns are particularly sensitive to BPA," adds the physiologist. Due to its unpredictable effects, the EU Commission banned the use of BPA in baby bottles in 2011 as a precaution.

Bisphenol A blocks multiple essential calcium channels

The team of researchers around Prof. Swandulla now reports that BPA reversibly blocks calcium channels essential for cell function in mouse and human cells. Calcium ions flowing through these pore-like so-called channel proteins into living cells, control e.g. the contraction of heart muscle cells, the activity of enzymes, and the communication of nerve cells with each other. "Drugs such as those used to treat high blood pressure and cardiac arrhythmia on the one hand, and neurotoxins, such as heavy metals, on the other hand act on exactly the same calcium channels," explains the physiologist from the University of Bonn. "This indicates that BPA can indeed have adverse effects on human health." Since BPA binds to the calcium channels reversibly, there is at least the possibility of the chemical being eliminated from the body.

Bisphenol A and its derivatives are ubiquitous

Nowadays BPA and its related substances can be detected almost everywhere in the environment. Effective doses are found in CD's, paper money, thermal paper, food cans, dental fillings and flame retardants, even in the breathing air and in house dust. Humans are meanwhile chronically exposed to these compounds. "This is why it would be desirable to completely stop the production of BPA," says Prof. Swandulla. "Due to the high-volume production and its widespread occurrence, it would, however, take a very long time to remove this chemical from the environment and the human organism." Consequently, alternatives to BPA should be utilized which are harmless to humans and other organisms.
-end-
Publication: Bisphenol A inhibits voltage-activated Ca2+ channels in vitro: mechanisms and structural requirements, "Molecular Pharma-cology," DOI: 10.1124/mol.112.081372

Contact:

Prof. Dr. Dieter Swandulla
Institut für Physiologie II
Ph. +40 228 7360100
Email: dieter.swandulla@ukb.uni-bonn.de

University of Bonn

Related BPA Articles from Brightsurf:

Is exposure to BPA associated with long-term risk of death?
Whether exposure to bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical found in many consumer products, is associated with the long-term risk of death from cardiovascular disease, cancer or any cause among US adults was examined in this observational study.

Higher BPA levels linked to more asthma symptoms in children
Children in low-income neighborhoods in Baltimore tended to have more asthma symptoms when levels of the synthetic chemical BPA (Bisphenol A) in their urine were elevated, according to a study from researchers at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and School of Medicine.

Chemicals used to replace BPA may lead to increased blood pressure
Common bisphenol A (BPA) substitutes can affect the developing fetus and cause hypertension in later life, suggests a rodent study accepted for presentation at ENDO 2020, the Endocrine Society's annual meeting.

Think all BPA-free products are safe? Not so fast, scientists warn
Using 'BPA-free' plastic products could be as harmful to human health -- including a developing brain -- as those products that contain the controversial chemical, suggest scientists in a new study led by the University of Missouri and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

BPA activates immune response in mice that passes down through generations
Some plastic food and beverage containers still contain bisphenol A (BPA), which can mimic the hormone estrogen.

BPA replacement hinders heart function, study reveals
BPA's counterpart replacement BPS can hinder heart function within minutes of a single exposure, according to a new University of Guelph study.

Study finds BPA levels in humans dramatically underestimated
Researchers have developed a more accurate method of measuring bispehnol A (BPA) levels in humans and found that exposure to the endocrine-disrupting chemical is far higher than previously assumed.

Bisphenol-a structural analogues may be less likely than BPA to disrupt heart rhythm
Some chemical alternatives to plastic bisphenol-a (BPA), which is still commonly used in medical settings such as operating rooms and intensive care units, may be less disruptive to heart electrical function than BPA, according to a pre-clinical study that explored how the structural analogues bisphenol-s (BPS) and bisphenol-f (BPF) interact with the chemical and electrical functions of heart cells.

BPA exposure during pregnancy can alter circadian rhythms
Exposure to the widely used chemical bisphenol A (BPA) during pregnancy, even at levels lower than the regulated 'safe' human exposure level, can lead to changes in circadian rhythms, according to a mice study to be presented Monday at ENDO 2019, the Endocrine Society's annual meeting in New Orleans, La.

Can prenatal exposures to BPA impact ovarian function?
While previous studies have shown the adverse health effects of prenatal exposure to the industrial chemical bisphenol A (BPA), there is little evidence surrounding effects specifically on ovarian function.

Read More: BPA News and BPA Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.