Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) metabolites in human urine and serum after a single oral dose of deuterium-labelled DEHP

Arch Toxicol. 2004 Mar;78(3):123-30. doi: 10.1007/s00204-003-0522-3. Epub 2003 Oct 24.


Human metabolism of di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) was studied after a single oral dose of 48.1 mg to a male volunteer. To avoid interference by background exposure the D4-ring-labelled DEHP analogue was dosed. Excretion of three metabolites, mono(2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl)phthalate (5OH-MEHP), mono(2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl)phthalate (5oxo-MEHP) and mono(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (MEHP), was monitored for 44 h in urine and for 8 h in serum. Peak concentrations of all metabolites were found in serum after 2 h and in urine after 2 h (MEHP) and after 4 h (5OH-MEHP and 5oxo-MEHP). While the major metabolite in serum was MEHP, the major metabolite in urine was 5OH-MEHP, followed by 5oxo-MEHP and MEHP. Excretion in urine followed a multi-phase elimination model. After an absorption and distribution phase of 4 to 8 h, half-life times of excretion in the first elimination phase were approximately 2 h with slightly higher half-life times for 5OH- and 5oxo-MEHP. Half-life times in the second phase-beginning 14 to 18 h post dose-were 5 h for MEHP and 10 h for 5OH-MEHP and 5oxo-MEHP. In the time window 36 to 44 h, no decrease in excreted concentrations of 5OH- and 5oxo-MEHP was observed. In the first elimination phase (8 to 14 h post dose), mean excretion ratios of MEHP to 5oxo-MEHP and MEHP to 5OH-MEHP were 1 to 1.8 and 1 to 3.1. In the second elimination phase up to 24 h post dose mean excretion ratios of MEHP to 5oxo-MEHP to 5OH-MEHP were 1 to 5.0 to 9.3. The excretion ratio of 5OH-MEHP to 5oxo-MEHP remained constant through time at 1.7 in the mean. After 44 h, 47% of the DEHP dose was excreted in urine, comprising MEHP (7.3%), 5OH-MEHP (24.7%) and 5oxo-MEHP (14.9%).

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Deuterium
  • Diethylhexyl Phthalate / analogs & derivatives*
  • Diethylhexyl Phthalate / blood*
  • Diethylhexyl Phthalate / pharmacokinetics*
  • Diethylhexyl Phthalate / urine*
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phthalic Acids / blood*
  • Phthalic Acids / urine*


  • Phthalic Acids
  • mono(2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl) phthalate
  • mono(2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl)phthalate
  • Deuterium
  • Diethylhexyl Phthalate
  • mono-(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate