Monday, November 9, 2015: 9:43 AM
250B (Salt Palace Convention Center)
The toxic effects of bisphenol A (BPA) in the human body are not yet fully understood. It is generally thought that the problems with BPA stem from its estrogenic activity and its ability to disrupt the body’s endocrine system due to structural similarities to endogenous estrogen. In this work, we utilized Schmidtea mediterranea (Smed) planaria to ascertain a better understanding of BPA’s effects on the human body, specifically the effects on the nervous system during development. Smed are small, freshwater flatworms that are ideal for the desired testing due to their centralized nervous system, sequenced genome, and extensive regenerative abilities that allow them to regenerate a portion, or all of, their central nervous system. Here, we tested planaria with fully intact central nervous systems as well as planaria with regenerating central nervous systems, the latter of which we hypothesize to be analogous to neurodevelopment in humans. Our results show a notable augmentation in cognitive ability in the intact worms and a delay in the reacquisition of cognitive ability in Smed undergoing head regeneration. Taken together, these results suggest a relationship between BPA exposure and neurological processes in Smed that may help to characterize BPA’s effects in other organisms.