“Oxidative stress induced by phthalates in mammals: State of the art and potential biomarkers” Review uri icon


  • Background: Phthalates, plasticizers that are widely used in consumer products including toys, cosmetics, and food containers, have negative effects in liver, kidney, brain, lung and reproductive system of humans and other mammals. Objectives: To summarize, describe and discuss the available information on the effects of phthalate exposure in mammals, with emphasis on oxidative stress, and to suggest potential biomarkers of the health risks associated with phthalate exposure. Methods: An assessment of scientific journals was performed using the PRISMA model for systematic reviews. Manuscripts reporting effects of phthalate exposure on mammalian health published in the last decade were selected according to originality, content, and association to health hazards. Results and discussion: We identified 25 peer-reviewed articles published between January 1st, 2010 and June 1st, 2021 that fit the aims and selection criteria. Phthalates induce oxidative stress and cell degenerative processes by increasing intracellular reactive species. Antioxidant cytoprotective systems decrease with time of exposure; conversely, oxidative damage markers, including thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS), 8-hydroxy-2′-desoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) and malondialdehyde (MDA), increase. Phthalates were associated with endocrine system disfunction, metabolic disorders, infertility, nonviable pregnancy, cell degeneration, growth impairment, tumor development, and cognitive disorders. Phthalates can also aggravate health conditions such as asthma, hepatitis, diabetes, allergies, chronic liver and kidney diseases. Among humans, the more vulnerable subjects to phthalate exposure effects were children and individuals with a prior health condition. Conclusion: Chronic exposure to phthalates induces oxidative stress in mammals with concomitant adverse effects in reproductive, respiratory, endocrine, circulatory, and central nervous systems in both in vitro and in vivo trials. Oxidative damage markers and phthalate metabolites levels were the most common biomarkers of phthalate exposure effects. Studies in free-ranging and wild mammals are nil. Further studies on the pathways that lead to metabolic disruption are needed to identify potential treatments against phthalate-induced detrimental effects. © 2021 Elsevier Inc.

publication date

  • 2022-01-01