Dr. Wolfgang Liedtke, an associate professor of medicine and neurobiology at Duke University in N.C., released new research specifying that BPA may impair the development of the Central Nervous system.
BPA, or bisphenol A, is widely used chemical, used to line aluminum cans to protect them from corrosion and also used in plastics such as bottles, tableware and food storage containers.
BPA is banned in Canada and the European Union, but the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has only banned the use of the chemical from manufacturing of baby bottles and sippy cups as of July 2012.
A new research study published in 2013, investigates the neuro-chemical pathways of BPA in the brain.
When neurons are initially developed in the brain, high levels of the ion chloride are present. The chloride levels eventually drop due to the presence of a transporter protein which moves it out of the neuronal cells. The presence of high amounts of chloride in cells can damage the nervous system pathways and disrupt the developing neuron’s ability to move to where it needs to in the brain.
The new research established that when the neurons were exposed to BPA, it impacted on the phenotypic expression of KCC2, as the gene that produced the protein was impacted. As a result chloride was not moved out of the neuronal cells.
BPA has been implicated in the development of a protein called MECP2, which binds to KCC2 and inhibits it. Childhood disorders such as a severe autism spectrum disorder called Rett syndrome is caused by a mutation of the MECP2 gene. Rett syndrome is the leading cause of intellectual disability in girls.
The research exposes the link of toxic chemicals to the central nervous development a concern especially in young children.
Liedtke W. et al.,.2013. PNAS. Bisphenol A delays the perinatal chloride shift in cortical neurons by epigenetic effects on the Kcc2 promoter.