Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate exposure exacerbates metabolic disorders in diet-induced obese mice

Jhih Wei Hsu, Chung Yi Nien, Hsin Wei Chen, Feng Yuan Tsai, Szu Ching Yeh, Yung Hsi Kao, Tsui Chun Tsou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Both phthalate exposure and obesity are positively associated with metabolic disorders. The study aimed to investigate whether DEHP exposure caused metabolic disorders in an obesity-dependent manner. Both lean and diet-induced obese mice were subjected to environmentally relevant DEHP exposure. DEHP-treated obese mice exhibited higher glucose intolerance and insulin resistance than obese mice; the metabolic disorders were accompanied by increased blood levels of leptin, LDL cholesterol, and alanine transaminase. In obese mice, DEHP enhanced macrophage infiltration into epididymal white adipose tissue (eWAT) and hepatic tissue, and promoted hepatic steatosis/steatohepatitis. The DEHP effects were not observed in lean mice. Transcriptomic changes in eWAT and hepatic tissue were determined with microarray analysis. Results indicated that obesity and DEHP synergistically regulated carbohydrate uptake, lipolysis, and abnormality of adipose tissue, via the upstream regulators Pparg, Lipe, Cd44, and Irs1. Meanwhile, obesity and DEHP differentially modulated transcriptomic changes in hepatic tissue. Obesity was associated with lipid/cholesterol synthesis, lipid accumulation, and inflammation in hepatic tissue via the upstream regulators Zbtb20 and Nr1i2. In obese mice, DEHP exposure caused hepatic injury, cell migration, and changes in glycogen quantity mainly via Cd44. Microarray analysis suggested the potential mechanism underlying the early onset of metabolic disorders in DEHP-treated obese mice.

Original languageEnglish
Article number112439
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
StatePublished - Oct 2021


  • Glucose intolerance
  • Hepatic steatosis
  • Insulin resistance
  • Macrophage infiltration
  • Obesity
  • Steatohepatitis


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