A study published in Endocrinology showed that exposure to the chemical bisphenol S can induce fat cell formation.

Bisphenol S (BPS) is often used to replace bisphenol A (BPA), which is known to disrupt the endocrine system. BPS or other substitutes are often found in “BPA-free” products. Health concerns around BPA have been cited in nearly 100 epidemiological studies but researchers are raising concerns that these replacement chemicals may also disrupt the body’s hormones and carry similar risks to public health.

Ella Atlas, PhD, of Health Canada, the study’s senior author, reported that BPS and BPA have similar effects on fat cells and their metabolism. Dr. Atlas and colleagues conducted the first study demonstrating that BPS exposure could encourage the formation of human fat cells. Her team developed a human cell model to test the effects of BPS exposure. Preadipocytes taken from the hip, thigh, or abdomen of female volunteers were exposed to various levels of BPS for 14 days.

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Some groups of cells were exposed to the chemical dexamethasone as a point of comparison because it is known to induce a known rate of fat cell formation and accumulation of lipids. Cells that were exposed to the lowest amounts as well as the highest concentrations of BPS exhibited the largest accumulation of lipids whereas moderate exposure resulted in a smaller effect.

Study findings showed that BPS and BPA have comparable effects on fat cell formation, lipid accumulation, and gene expression involved in lipid metabolism.

For more information visit endocrine.org.