Investigation on Metabolism of Di(2-Ethylhexyl) Phthalate in Different Trimesters of Pregnant Women

Hongzhi Zhao, Jiufeng Li, Yanqiu Zhou, Lin Zhu, Yuanyuan Zheng, Wei Xia, Yuanyuan Li, Li Xiang, Wei Chen, Shunqing Xu*, Zongwei Cai*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) is a widely used plasticizer but shows diverse toxicity. To investigate the time- and maternal age-differences in metabolism process of DEHP in pregnant women, three urine samples were collected from each pregnant woman (n = 847) at the first (T1, mean 13.04 gestational weeks), the second (T2, mean 23.63 gestational weeks) and the third time point (T3, mean 35.91 gestational weeks), respectively. Four metabolites of DEHP were analyzed in 2541 urine samples (847 × 3) by using ultra-high performance liquid chromatography coupled with triple quadrupole mass spectrometry. The level of urinary mono(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (MEHP) had a decreasing trend across the pregnancy periods. The geometric mean concentrations of mono(2-ethyl-5-hydroxyhexyl) phthalate (MEHHP), mono(2-ethyl-5-oxohexyl) phthalate (MEOHP) and mono(2-ethyl-5-carboxypentyl) phthalate (MECPP) were significantly decreased in T2 than T1, and recovered slightly in T3. The transformation rate of MEHP to MEHHP in T3 was significantly higher than those in other two time points. The transformation rate of MEHHP to MEOHP in T2 and T3 was significantly higher than that in T1, indicating the oxidation was more efficient in late pregnancy compared with early and middle pregnancy. The percentages of oxidation products MEHHP and MECPP were higher in the higher-age group compared with the lower-age group in the second trimester samples. It is therefore concluded that DEHP metabolism may be influenced by the pregnancy stage and maternal age. The findings may benefit the risk assessment and toxicity evaluation of DEHP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)12851-12858
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Issue number21
Publication statusPublished - 6 Nov 2018

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry


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