Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 12, pp 11333–11342 | Cite as

Recent updates on phthalate exposure and human health: a special focus on liver toxicity and stem cell regeneration

  • Sarva Mangala PraveenaEmail author
  • Seoh Wei Teh
  • Ranjith Kumar Rajendran
  • Narayanan Kannan
  • Chu-Ching Lin
  • Rozaini Abdullah
  • Suresh Kumar
Review Article


Phthalates have been blended in various compositions as plasticizers worldwide for a variety of purposes. Consequently, humans are exposed to a wide spectrum of phthalates that needs to be researched and understood correctly. The goal of this review is to focus on phthalate’s internal exposure pathways and possible role of human digestion on liver toxicity. In addition, special focus was made on stem cell therapy in reverting liver toxicity. The known entry of higher molecular weight phthalates is through ingestion while inhalation and dermal pathways are for lower molecular weight phthalates. In human body, certain phthalates are digested through phase 1 (hydrolysis, oxidation) and phase 2 (conjugation) metabolic processes. The phthalates that are made bioavailable through digestion enter the blood stream and reach the liver for further detoxification, and these are excreted via urine and/or feces. Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) is a compound well studied involving human metabolism. Liver plays a pivotal role in humans for detoxification of pollutants. Thus, continuous exposure to phthalates in humans may lead to inhibition of liver detoxifying enzymes and may result in liver dysfunction. The potential of stem cell therapy addressed herewith will revert liver dysfunction and lead to restoration of liver function properly.


Phthalates Exposure Metabolism Biotransformation Human health Liver toxicity Stem cell therapy 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health ScienceUniversiti Putra MalaysiaSerdangMalaysia
  2. 2.Department of Medical Microbiology and Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine and Health ScienceUniversiti Putra MalaysiaSerdangMalaysia
  3. 3.Graduate Institute of Environmental EngineeringNational Central UniversityTaoyuanTaiwan
  4. 4.Faculty of Applied SciencesAIMST UniversityBedongMalaysia

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