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Pharm Res. 1992 Dec;9(12):1648-53.

Effects of diethyl phthalate and other plasticizers on laurate hydroxylation in rat liver microsomes.

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  • 1Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, Washington State University, Pullman 99164-6510.


Diethyl phthalate (DEP) is used in pharmaceutical coatings, cosmetics, and plastic films to wrap foods. There is a health concern associated with the exposure to certain phthalate esters because they belong to a class of compounds referred to as peroxisome proliferators which have been shown to increase the incidence of liver tumors when administered to rats. In this study, we have compared DEP to four other commonly used plasticizers, 2-diethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP), dibutyl phthalate (DBP), 2-diethylhezyl adipate (DEHA), and acetyltributyl citrate (ATBC), for their ability to induce the cytochrome P450-mediated fatty acid omega-hydroxylation system, which is one of the initial cellular responses when animals are treated with peroxisome proliferators. The administration of DEHP, DBP, and DEHA to rats increased the specific activity of laurate 12-hydroxylase from 2.8 +/- 1.1 in control rats to 30.3 +/- 11.6, 14.5 +/- 4.1, and 9.7 +/- 1.9 nmol 12-hydroxylaurate formed/min/nmol P450, respectively. In contrast, laurate 12-hydroxylase activity in DEP- and ATBC-treated rats were 4.4 +/- 1.2 and 4.4 +/- 1.0 nmol 12-hydroxylaurate formed/min/nmol P450, respectively. In addition, whereas DEHP increased peroxisomal palmitoyl-CoA oxidation 6-fold, DEP increased this activity only 1.3-fold. Two protein bands, at 51 and 52 kDa, were found to increase 6- to 12-fold in microsomes of DEHP-, DBP-, and DEHA-treated rats, but these bands were increased only 2-fold in DEP- or ATBC-treated rats.

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