Prenatal di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate exposure and cord blood adipokine levels and birth size: The Hokkaido study on environment and children's health

Sci Total Environ. 2017 Feb 1;579:606-611. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.11.051. Epub 2016 Nov 15.


Di-2-ethylhexyl phthalate (DEHP) is one of the most widely used phthalates. Metabolites of DEHP are detectable in majority of the population. Findings on adverse health outcomes, particularly birth weight in association with prenatal exposure to DEHP remain equivocal. Besides, there is insufficient evidence to address influence on metabolic function from epidemiological studies. Thus, our objective was to investigate cord blood adipokine levels and birth size in association with prenatal DEHP exposure in prospective birth cohort study. Mono-2-methylhexyl phthalate (MEHP), primary metabolite of DEHP was determined as exposure by using maternal blood sample of 3rd trimester. Leptin and adiponectin levels in cord blood were measured as markers of metabolic function. Birth weight and length were obtained from birth record. Association between maternal MEHP levels and cord blood adiponectin and leptin levels, birth weight and ponderal index (PI) were examined for 167 mother-child pairs who had both MEHP and cord blood adipokine measurements. The median MEHP level was 8.81ng/ml and the detection rate was 100%. There was no sex difference in MEHP levels. Both leptin and adiponectin levels were higher in girls than in boys. MEHP level was positively associated with adiponectin level among boys and was negatively associated with leptin level among girls. MEHP level were negatively associated with PI only in girls and this could be due to decreased leptin level. This study suggested that prenatal DEHP exposure may be associated with cord blood adipokine and birth size. The influence potentially be sex-specific and could be more significant in girls.

Keywords: Adiponectin; Birth weight; Leptin; Phthalate; Ponderal index.

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines / blood*
  • Child
  • Child Health
  • Diethylhexyl Phthalate / blood*
  • Environmental Pollutants / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure / statistics & numerical data*


  • Adipokines
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Diethylhexyl Phthalate