Bisphenol A (BPA), an exogenous endocrine-disrupting chemical, has been shown to alter DNA methylation. However, little information is available about the effect of BPA exposure on DNA hydroxymethylation in humans. The objective of the present study was to examine whether BPA exposure was associated with DNA hydroxymethylation in human semen samples. We measured urine BPA levels and LINE-1 hydroxymethylation in 158 male factory workers selected from an occupational cohort study conducted in China between 2004 and 2008. Among them, there were 72 male workers with occupational BPA exposure (BPA-exposed group) and 86 male workers without occupational BPA exposure (unexposed group). Multivariate linear regression models were used to examine the association of exposure to BPA with LINE-1 hydroxymethylation. LINE-1 was more highly hydroxymethylated in the BPA-exposed group than in the unexposed group (median 12.97% vs. 9.68%, respectively; p
< 0.05), after adjusting for the potential confounders. The medians of 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5hmC) generally increased with increasing urine BPA levels: 8.79%, 12.16%, 11.53%, and 13.45%, for undetected BPA and corresponding tertiles for the detected BPA, respectively. After analysis using data at individual level, our findings indicated that BPA exposure was associated with alterations of sperm LINE-1 hydroxymethylation, which might have implications for understanding the mechanisms underlying BPA-induced adverse effects on male reproductive function.
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