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Nihon Eiseigaku Zasshi. 2012 Jan;67(1):22-5.

[Relationship of maternal malnutrition caused by Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate exposure with lifestyle disease in offspring].

[Article in Japanese]

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Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Department of Occupational and Environmental Health, Showa-ku, Nagoya, Japan.


The hypothesis that offspring growing up malnourished during their fetal period have a high risk of lifestyle diseases in later life has been attracting great attention. Although animal experiments and epidemiological studies have been reported, most of them focused on the deficiency of maternal malnutritional elements or starvation. We found that di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) decreased maternal plasma triglyceride levels, which is a significant source of nutrients for fetuses, in mice. Therefore, we analyzed how offspring exposed to malnutritional status during their fetal period develop potential adverse effects in later life. Male and female wild-type (mPPARα), Pparα-null, and hPPARα mice were treated with diets containing 0 or 0.05% DEHP. After 4 weeks, males and females in the same genotype and dose group were mated. After continued exposure until weaning, each group was divided into two groups, and one of them was dissected. The remaining was further divided into two subgroups; one was fed normal feed (control-diet group), while the other was fed a high-fat diet (HFD group). After 8-week feeding, all the mice were dissected. In the control-diet group, DEHP exposure at the fetal and pup stages increased food consumption in mPPARα and hPPARα mice, but not in Ppara-null mice. In contrast, DEHP exposure decreased plasma leptin levels in mPPARα and hPPARα mice at the weaning stage. In the HFD group, DEHP exposure at the fetal and pup stages influenced neither food consumption nor leptin levels. These findings suggest that maternal malnutrition may be caused by not only nutritional deficiency but also exposure to some chemicals such as DEHP, and the latter case may also influence feeding behavior in offspring. These effects may be related to hepatic PPARα and diminished by HFD feeding. Further study is warranted as to whether such feeding behavior influences the risk of lifestyle diseases such as obesity.

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