Di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate accelerates atherosclerosis in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice
Di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) is associated with atherosclerosis-related cardiovascular disease complications, but we lack direct evidence of its unfavorable effect on atherogenesis. In this study, we aimed to clarify in vivo and in vitro the contribution of DEHP to the development of atherosclerosis and its underlying mechanisms. Apolipoprotein E-deficient (apoE−/−) mice chronically treated with DEHP for 4 weeks showed exacerbated hyperlipidemia, systemic inflammation, and atherosclerosis. In addition, DEHP promoted low-density lipoprotein (LDL) oxidation, which led to inflammation in endothelial cells as evidenced by increased protein expression of pro-inflammatory mediators. Furthermore, chronic DEHP treatment increased hepatic cholesterol accumulation by downregulating the protein expression of key regulators in cholesterol clearance including LDL receptor, cholesterol 7α-hydrolase, ATP-binding cassette transporter G5 and G8, and liver X receptor α. Moreover, the adiposity and inflammation of white adipose tissues were promoted in DEHP-treated apoE−/− mice. In conclusion, DEHP may disturb cholesterol homeostasis and deregulate the inflammatory response, thus leading to accelerated atherosclerosis.
KeywordsDEHP Atherosclerosis Cholesterol metabolism Inflammation Obesity
The authors thank Laura Smales (BioMedEditing) for help in language editing.
Conflict of interest
The authors have declared no conflicts of interest.
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