Toxicology

Teething Signs

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Science  28 Jun 2013:
Vol. 340, Issue 6140, pp. 1500
DOI: 10.1126/science.340.6140.1500-a

Bisphenol A (BPA) is used in the production of polycarbonate plastics, which are widely used in the food packaging industry. Because of this, some developed-world populations have become extensively contaminated with BPA, which is a known endocrine-disrupting chemical. This class of chemicals has been linked to a set of adverse health effects, including infertility, obesity, and cancer. Jedeon et al. show that exposing rats to BPA in utero and during early life can affect the deposition of enamel on their teeth (amelogenesis), resulting in hypomineralization. This condition shares a number of features with the recently described human condition known as molar incisor hypomineralization, which manifests as patchy white opacities on the teeth of children at 6 to 8 years of age. Like molar incisor hypomineralization, the dental effect in rats is limited to a developmental window. BPA may act by interfering with the expression of an ameloblast protease that removes enamel-forming proteins from the enamel matrix; if these proteins were to persist, they would inhibit proper enamel deposition. If the defect in tooth development seen in rats is a good model for molar incisor hypomineralization, then this condition might provide a visible marker for infant exposure to BPA.

CREDIT: © ALEXEY KRASAVIN

Am. J. Pathol. 183, 109 (2013).

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