Chronic exposure to low doses bisphenol a interferes with pair-bonding and exploration in female Mongolian gerbils

M. Razzoli, P. Valsecchi, P. Palanza

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23 Scopus citations


Estrogenic endocrine disruptors, synthetic or naturally occurring substances found in the environment, can interfere with the vertebrate endocrine system and, mimicking estrogens, interact with the neuroendocrine substrates of behavior. Since species vary in their sensitivity to steroids, it is of great interest to widen the range of species included in the researches on neurobehavioral effects of estrogenic endocrine disruptors. We examined socio-sexual and exploratory behavior of Mongolian gerbil females (Meriones unguiculatus), a monogamous rodent, in response to chronic exposure to the estrogenic endocrine disruptor bisphenol A. Paired females were daily administered with one of the following treatments: bisphenol A (2 or 20 μg/kg body weight/day); 17α-ethynil estradiol (0.04 μg/kg body weight/day 17αE); oil (vehicle). Females were treated for 3 weeks after pairing. Starting on day of pairing, social interactions within pairs were daily recorded. Three weeks after pairing, females were individually tested in a free exploratory paradigm. Bisphenol A and 17αE affected male-female social interactions by increasing social investigation. Bisphenol A reduced several exploratory parameters, indicating a decreased exploratory propensity of females. These results highlight the sensitivity of adult female gerbils to bisphenol A during the hormonally sensitive period of pair formation, also considering that the bisphenol A doses tested are well below the suggested human tolerable daily intake.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-254
Number of pages6
JournalBrain Research Bulletin
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 15 2005
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors wish to thank Valeria Vascelli for assistance in animal care and Beatrice Massardi and Annalisa Caggiati for assistance in the conducting of experiments. This study was supported by grants from the Italian MIUR (Ministero per l’Istruzione, l’Università e la Ricerca) and the University of Parma to Dr. P. Palanza.


  • Estrogen
  • Estrogenic endocrine disruptors
  • Social behavior


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