The objective of this study was to investigate changes in intestinal histopathology and expression of heat-shock proteins (HSPs) in the small intestinal tissue of mouse after acute exposure to dibutyl phthalate (DBP). Forty-eight 60-day-old Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) mice were administered DBP by gavage once a day for 10 days. The mice were divided into three groups of 16 mice each: the high-dose group was administered 500 mg/kg body weight (BW) DBP; the low-dose group was administered 50 mg/kg BW; and the control group was not administered DBP. Significant increases in the uterine index, ovary index, and testicular index were observed in the DBP-exposed groups compared to those in the control group. Villus height and V/ C ratio significantly increased ( p < 0.05) in the duodenum and decreased ( p < 0.05) in the jejunum after the administration of DBP. The goblet cell number decreased in both the duodenum and the jejunum of mice exposed to DBP ( p < 0.05) compared to the number in the control group mice. Damage to the structure of the small intestine was accompanied by a marked increase in HSP27 expression and a decrease in the expression of HSP70 and HSP90 in both high-dose and low-dose groups. These results indicate that elevated HSP27 levels in the duodenum and jejunum may be important markers for acute DBP exposure and that HSP27 may act as a protective protein involved in intestinal mucosa repair.
Keywords: Dibutyl phthalate; acute toxicity; heat-shock proteins; intestinal tissues.