Bisphenol A, one of the industrial chemicals used in plastics and in the coating of dishes and medical equipment, behaves as an endocrine disruptor in the human body. Bisphenol A can bind directly to several types of nuclear receptors, including steroid and xenobiotic receptor (SXR). SXR plays an important role in bone metabolism through the activation of osteoblasts in vitro, but SXR protein localization has not been reported in bone tissues. Additionally, it is not known whether bisphenol A acts on osteoblasts through SXR activation. Therefore, in this study, we first examined the immunolocalization of the SXR protein in human adult and fetal bone tissues. We then examined the effects of bisphenol A on human osteoblasts in vitro. SXR immunoreactivity was detected in osteoblasts, but not in osteoclasts, of both adult and fetal bone tissues. In fetal bone tissues, the mesenchymal cells or fetal connective tissue were also positive for SXR immunoreactivity. Expression of SXR target genes (tsukushi, matrilin-2, and CYP3A4) and SXR response element-luciferase activity were increased by bisphenol A treatment in normal osteoblasts transfected with SXR (hFOB/SXR) and in osteoblast-like cells (MG-63). Bisphenol A also stimulated cell proliferation and collagen accumulation in hFOB/SXR cells. These results suggest that, as in other tissues, SXR plays important roles in bone metabolism and fetal bone development and that bisphenol A may disturb bone homeostasis in both adult and fetus through SXR.
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