DEHP exposure elevated cardiovascular risk in obese mice by disturbing the arachidonic acid metabolism of gut microbiota

Xuyang Chai, Luyao Wen, Yuanyuan Song, Xiaochong He, Jingxian Yue, Jianlin Wu, Xin Chen, Zongwei Cai*, Zenghua Qi*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Phthalate esters (PAEs) are one of the significant classes of emerging contaminants that are increasingly detected in environmental and human samples. Nevertheless, the current toxicity studies rarely report how PAEs affect the cardiovascular system, especially in obese individuals. In this study, diet-induced obese mice and corresponding normal mice were exposed to di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) by oral gavage at environmentally relevant concentrations and key characteristics of cardiovascular risk were examined. The 16S rRNA and high-resolution mass spectrometry were used to investigate the alterations in the gut microbial profile and metabolic homeostasis. The results indicated that the cardiovascular system of fat individuals was more susceptible to DEHP exposure than mice in the lean group. 16S rRNA-based profiling and correlation analysis collectively suggested DEHP-induced gut microbial remodeling in fed a high-fat diet mice, represented by the abundance of the genus Faecalibaculum. Using metagenomic approaches, Faecalibaculum rodentium was identified as the top-ranked candidate bacterium. Additionally, metabolomics data revealed that DEHP exposure altered the gut metabolic homeostasis of arachidonic acid (AA), which is associated with adverse cardiovascular events. Finally, cultures of Faecalibaculum rodentium were treated with AA in vitro to verify the role of Faecalibaculum rodentium in altering AA metabolism. Our findings provide novel insights into DEHP exposure induced cardiovascular damage in obese individuals and suggest that AA could be used as a potential modulator of gut microbiota to prevent related diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Article number162615
Number of pages11
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Early online date4 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2023

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution

User-Defined Keywords

  • Arachidonic acid
  • Cardiovascular damage
  • DEHP exposure
  • Faecalibaculum rodentium
  • Obesity


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