Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Gamete Gamble: Phthalate Alters Germ Cell Development

Academic journal article Environmental Health Perspectives

Gamete Gamble: Phthalate Alters Germ Cell Development

Article excerpt

Di-2-ethyhexyl phthalate (DEHP), one of the most abundant phthalates produced, has been incorporated into flexible plastic products such as food containers and packaging, toys, medical equipment, and home and garden products. DEHP is being phased out some products because of growing concern about its tangible link between one phthalate, the DEHP metabolite mono-2-ethylexyl phthalate (MEHP), and altered human germ cell development [EHP 117:32-37; Lambrot et al.].

The French team acquired testes from morphologically normal fetuses of women undergoing legal abortion during weeks 7 to 12 of gestation. Using an organotypic culture system, they exposed the testes for 3 days to one of three concentrations of MEHP: [10.sub.-6], [10.sub.-5], or [10.sub.-4] M. The highest concentration was 2 orders of magnitude higher than that known by the authors to occur in humans; the lowest was the same order of magnitude as that found in human milk in Finland, which reached 1,410 [mu]g/L. Biomonitoring data for 2005 published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) showed that MEHP in the urine of U.S. residents reached 52.1 [mu]g/L (or [10.sub.-8] M).

At the highest concentration, the authors found that exposure reduced germ cell members by 40%. The sharp reduction occurred via an increase in apoptosis, or programmed cell death, without any effect on proliferation. …

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