Developmental exposure to the endocrine-active compound bisphenol A (BPA) has been linked to epigenotoxic and potential carcinogenic effects in rodent liver, prostate, and mammary glands. A dose-dependent increase in hepatic tumors in 10-month mice perinatally exposed to one of three doses of BPA (50 ng, 50 µg, or 50 mg BPA/kg chow) was previously reported. These tumors represent early-onset disease and lack classical sexual dimorphism in incidence. Here, adult epigenome-wide liver DNA methylation profiles to identify gene promoters associated with perinatal BPA exposure and disease in 10-month mice with and without liver tumors were investigated. Mice with hepatic tumors showed 12,822 (1.8%) probes with differential methylation as compared with non-tumor animals, of which 8,656 (67.5%) were hypomethylated. A significant enrichment of differential methylation in Gene Ontology (GO) terms and biological processes related to morphogenesis and development, and epigenomic alteration were observed. Pathway enrichment revealed a predominance of hypermethylated neuronal signaling pathways linked to energy regulation and metabolic function, supporting metabolic consequences in the liver via BPA-induced disruption of neuronal signaling pathways. Hypothesis-driven pathway analysis revealed mouse and human genes linked to BPA exposure related to intracellular Jak/STAT and MAPK signaling pathways. Taken together, these findings are indicators of the relevance of the hepatic tumor phenotype seen in BPA-exposed mice to human health. This work demonstrated that epigenome-wide discovery experiments in animal models were effective tools for identification and understanding of paralagous epimutations salient to human disease. Environ. Mol. Mutagen. 57:435–446, 2016.
- bisphenol A (BPA)
- developmental origins of health and disease (DOHaD)
- endocrine disruptors
- environmental epigenetics
- hepatocellular carcinoma