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PLoS One. 2016 Aug 30;11(8):e0161253. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0161253. eCollection 2016.

Food Emulsifier Glycerin Monostearate Increases Internal Exposure Levels of Six Priority Controlled Phthalate Esters and Exacerbates Their Male Reproductive Toxicities in Rats.

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Key Laboratory of Environmental Medicine Engineering, Ministry of Education, School of Public Health, Southeast University, Nanjing, 210009, China.
Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Yale School of Public Health, School of Medicine, Yale University, 60 College Street, New Haven, Connecticut, 06520-8034, United States of America.
Suzhou Key Laboratory of Environment and Biosafety, Southeast University, Suzhou, 215123, China.
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Zhong Da Hospital, School of Medicine, Southeast University, Nanjing, 210009, China.


Human beings are inevitably exposed to ubiquitous phthalate esters (PAEs). Processed, packaged foods are popular nowadays, in which emulsifiers are frequently added as food additives. It is unclear how emulsifiers affect the bioavailability of ingested PAEs contaminants and their toxicities. The purposes of our study were to explore whether food emulsifier Glycerin Monostearate (GMS) could increase the internal exposure levels of six priority controlled PAEs and affect their reproductive toxicities when male rats are exposed to PAEs mixture (MIXPs). The male rats were exposed to MIXPs by gavage for thirty days in combination with or without given GMS. Phthalate monoesters (MPAEs), primary metabolites of PAEs, in rat urine were used as biomarkers to predict the internal exposure levels of the six PAEs, and their concentrations were determined using UPLC-MS. The reproductive toxicity was evaluated using serum testosterone levels test and histopathology of testes. Results showed that compared to PAEs exposure alone, the internal exposure levels of PAEs increased by 30%-49% in the presence of GMS. PAEs exposure led to the reduction of testosterone level by 23.4%-42.1% in the presence and absence of GMS, respectively, compared to the baseline. Testosterone levels in MIXPs+GMS and DEHP+GMS group were decreased by 9.1% and 13.6%, respectively, compared with MIXPs and DEHP group. Histopathology showed that injuries of testis (deciduous spermatids) were observed, and GMS exacerbated the injuries. The results indicated food emulsifiers chronically taken up might increase safety risks of food PAEs contaminants.

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