Bisphenol A (BPA) is an estrogenic endocrine disruptor used for producing polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins. This study investigated the effects of perinatal BPA exposure on learning and memory, general activity, and emotionality in male Sprague Dawley rats using a battery of behavioral tests, including an appetite-motivated maze test (MAZE test) used to assess spatial learning and memory. Mother rats were orally administered BPA (50 or 500 μg∙kg−1/day) or vehicle (1 ml∙kg−1/day) from gestational day 10 to postnatal day 14. In the MAZE test, compared to the offspring of vehicle-treated rat mothers, male offspring of mothers exposed to 50 μg∙kg−1/day of BPA, but not those of mothers exposed to 500 μg∙kg−1/day of BPA, needed significantly more time to reach the reward. Although male offspring of mothers exposed to 50 μg∙kg−1/day of BPA showed an increase in a behavioral measure of wariness after repeated testing in the open-field test, no significant effects were observed in locomotor activities. No significant differences were observed in any other behavioral test including the elevated plus-maze test. The present study suggests that perinatal exposure to low-dose BPA specifically and non-monotonically impairs spatial learning and memory in male offspring rats.
2013 The Japanese Pharmacological Society