This study tested the effect of exposure to bisphenol A (BPA) early in life on the sexual differentiation in the brain and behavior in Wistar rats. We administered BPA only to mother rats during pregnancy and lactation at a dosage of approximately 1.5 mg/kg per day far less than the no-observed-adverse-effect level (NOAEL; 50 mg/kg per day). Control female offspring showed a higher activity, a lower avoidance memory, and larger locus coeruleus than the male controls, while the BPA-exposed group did not show any sexual dimorphism. BPA did not affect the reproductive organs or sex hormones. Our results suggest that the current methods to determine the NOAEL of artificial industrial chemicals may not be sufficient to detect a disruption of the sexual differentiation in the brain.
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