Phthalates are often added to plastic products to increase their flexibility. Di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) is one of the most common plasticizers. Previously, a major incident involving phthalate-contaminated foodstuffs occurred, where phthalates were deliberately added to foodstuffs as a substitute for emulsifiers, resulting in a threat to public health. DEHP exposure can cause liver damage and further lead to cancer; however, the effects of long-term exposure to low-dose DEHP on hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) and on liver fibrosis are still unclear. In this study, we showed that chronic exposure to low-dose DEHP results in an accumulation of cholesterol in HSCs by disturbing the cholesterol metabolism and enhancing endogenous cholesterol synthesis. In addition, long-term exposure to low-dose DEHP reduces the sensitivity of HSCs to platelet-derived growth factor BB (PDGF-BB)-induced proliferation by blocking the MAPK pathway. Dysfunction of mitochondrial respiration and induction of caspase 3/PARP-dependent apoptosis were observed in HSCs following chronic, low-dose exposure. The carbon tetrachloride (CCl4)-induced liver fibrosis mouse model showed that long-term administration of DEHP significantly promoted liver damage, inflammatory infiltration, cholesterol accumulation, and deposition of hepatic collagen. In conclusion, long-term exposure to low-dose DEHP may perturb the cholesterol metabolism in HSCs and accelerate liver damage and fibrosis.
|Journal||International journal of environmental research and public health|
|State||Published - 1 Jun 2020|
- Cholesterol metabolism
- di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate long-term low-dose exposure
- Hepatic stellate cells
- Liver fibrosis