Plastics, part of modern life, are useful but can pose a significant challenge to the environment and may also constitute a health concern. Indeed, exposure to plastic-associated chemicals, such as base chemical bisphenol A and phthalate plasticizers, can increase the risk of human cardiovascular disease. What underlying mechanisms cause this, however, remain elusive.
“We found dicyclohexyl phthalate, or DCHP, strongly binds to a receptor called pregnane X receptor, or PXR,” said Zhou, who is a professor in the UCR School of Medicine. “DCHP ‘turns on’ PXR in the gut, inducing the expression of key proteins required for cholesterol absorption and transport. Our experiments show that DCHP elicits high cholesterol by targeting intestinal PXR signaling.”
DCHP, a widely used phthalate plasticizer, has recently been proposed by the Environmental Protection Agency as a high-priority substance for risk evaluation. Not much is known yet about DCHP’s adverse effects in humans.
Zhou was joined in the research by Zhaojie Meng, Jinwei Liu, Rebecca Hernandez, and Miko Gonzales of UCR; and Yipeng Sui, Taesik Gwag, and Andrew J. Morris of the University of Kentucky. The study was published in Environmental Health Perspectives, a top journal in the environmental health field.
Release date: 30 November 2021
Source: University of California – Riverside