Bisphenol A (BPA) is an environmental endocrine disrupter (EED). Previous studies by our group showed that pre- and postnatal administration of low-level BPA induced depression-like behavior in rats. In this study, we evaluated the effects of prenatal BPA on behavioral responses to a predator odor by using a novel cross-form apparatus consisting of 4 plastic chambers. On the first day, nothing was placed into the chambers (Session 1). On the second day, a predator odor (fox odor) was located in separate chambers at 2 opposite corners of the apparatus (Session 2). Pregnant Wistar rats were exposed to low-dose BPA (less than the reference dose) during the 7 days just before birth, and the offspring of the treated rats were evaluated as adults. The locomotor activity and avoidance response of each rat on both test days were compared. The control and BPA groups showed reduced locomotor activity in the presence of the predator odor, but the odor-avoidance response was significant only in the BPA rats. The BPA-ex- posed rats were obviously sensitive to the predator odor. These results suggest that prenatal BPA exposure has an amplifying effect on avoidance responses to predator odor stress.
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