Environmental and occupational exposure to Bisphenol A ( ), a chemical widely used in polycarbonate plastics and epoxy resins, has received much attention in female reproductive health due to its widespread toxic effects. Although has been linked to infertility and recurrent miscarriage in women, the impact of its exposure on uterine function during early pregnancy remains unclear. In this study, we addressed the effect of prolonged exposure to an environmental relevant dose of on embryo implantation and establishment of pregnancy. Our studies revealed that treatment of mice with led to improper endometrial epithelial and stromal functions thus affecting embryo implantation and establishment of pregnancy. Upon further analyses, we found that the expression of progesterone receptor (PGR) and its downstream target gene, HAND2 (heart and neural crest derivatives expressed 2), was markedly suppressed in BPA-exposed uterine tissues. Previous studies have shown that HAND2 controls embryo implantation by repressing fibroblast growth factor and the MAPK signaling pathways and inhibiting epithelial proliferation. Interestingly, we observed that down-regulation of PGR and HAND2 expression in uterine stroma upon exposure was associated with enhanced activation of fibroblast growth factor and MAPK signaling in the epithelium, thus contributing to aberrant proliferation and lack of uterine receptivity. Further, the differentiation of endometrial stromal cells to decidual cells, an event critical for the establishment and maintenance of pregnancy, was severely compromised in response to . In summary, our studies revealed that chronic exposure to impairs PGR-HAND2 pathway and adversely affects implantation and the establishment of pregnancy.
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This project is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (award #111062), Alberta Innovates - Health Solutions, and by The Metabolomics Innovation Centre (TMIC), a nationally-funded research and core facility that supports a wide range of cutting-edge metabolomic studies. TMIC is funded by Genome Alberta, Genome British Columbia, and Genome Canada, a not-for-profit organization that is leading Canada's national genomics strategy with $900 million in funding from the federal government.