Background: Several endocrine disruptors (including phthalates) are considered to be a cause of obesity. However, the current evidence has not conclusively established an association between phthalates and metabolic abnormalities, especially in children. The objective of the study was to evaluate the association between urinary phthalate metabolites and metabolic abnormalities in obese Thai children and adolescents.
Methods: This cross-sectional case-control study was conducted in participants aged 7-18 years and divided into two groups: normal weight and overweight/obesity. Spot urine concentrations of two phthalate metabolites (monomethyl phthalate [MMP] and mono-n-buthyl phthalate [MBP]) were measured by high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Anthropometric data, including weight, height, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference (WC), hip circumference (HC), waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and waist-to-height ratio (WHTR), were measured and calculated. Fasting plasma glucose, insulin, HbA1c, lipid profiles and hepatic transaminase were analyzed, and insulin resistance indices were calculated.
Results: One hundred and fifty-five participants were included. The median MMP level in the normal weight and the overweight/obesity groups were 0 (0, 459.83) and 0 (0, 1623.50) μg/g Cr, respectively (p=0.933). The median MBP level in the normal weight and the overweight/obesity groups were 233.6 (118.1, 633.62) and 206.94 (7.4, 427.7) μg/g Cr, respectively (p=0.083). After adjusting for age, gender and puberty, there was no correlation between MBP and all anthropometric data and metabolic profiles. Participants with hypertriglyceridemia had lower MBP levels than those with normal TG level. MMP levels were not significantly different between the participants with normal and abnormal weight of all metabolic parameters.
Conclusions: Participants with hypertriglyceridemia had lower MBP levels than those with normotriglyceridemia. However, it cannot show the correlation between phthalate and metabolic parameters.
Keywords: metabolic abnormalities; mono-n-buthyl phthalate (MBP); monomethyl phthalate (MMP); obesity; phthalate.