Association of serum levels of 4-tertiary-octylphenol with cardiovascular risk factors and carotid intima-media thickness in adolescents and young adults

Environ Pollut. 2019 Mar:246:107-113. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2018.11.110. Epub 2018 Dec 1.


In the family of alkylphenolic compounds, 4-tertiary-Octylphenol (4-t-OP) is extensively used in many products. In animal and in vitro studies, 4-t-OP exposure has been linked to cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors; however, there are no previous human epidemiological studies. In this study, 886 subjects were recruited from a cohort of Taiwanese adolescents and young adults to study the relationship between serum levels of 4-t-OP, CVD risk factors, and common carotid artery intima-media thickness (CIMT). The geometric mean (SD) 4-t-OP concentration was 32.52 (1.71) ng/mL. We found that serum levels of 4-t-OP were negatively associated with markers of glucose homeostasis (insulin, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) and homeostasis model assessment of β-cell function (HOMA-β)), z score of body mass index (BMI z score) and CIMT but were positively associated with lipid profiles (high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), Apolipoprotein A1). A one-unit elevation in natural log-transformed 4-t-OP (ng/mL) was negatively correlated with CIMT (mm) (β = -0.029, SE = 0.003, P < 0.001) in multiple linear regression analyses. The relationship between 4-t-OP and CIMT remained the same in all subgroups or if bisphenol A (BPA) was considered a covariate. In this study, we observed that higher levels of 4-t-OP levels were negatively correlated with markers of glucose homeostasis, BMI z score, and CIMT; positively correlated with lipid profiles (HDL-C and apolipoprotein A) in this cohort. Future research on exposure to 4-t-OP and CVD risk factors is warranted.

Keywords: 4-Tertiary-Octylphenol (4-t-OP); Bisphenol A (BPA); Cardiovascular disease risk factors; Common carotid artery intima-media thickness; Homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR).

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Carotid Intima-Media Thickness*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Phenols / blood*
  • Risk Factors
  • Taiwan / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Phenols
  • 4-tert-octylphenol