Oral toxicity of Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate during pregnancy and suckling in the Long-Evans rat

F. A. Arcadi, C. Costa, C. Imperatore, A. Marchese, A. Rapisarda, M. Salemi, G. R. Trimarchi, G. Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) is a compound widely used in plastics technology to impart flexibility to rigid polymers. We sought to determine whether the oral exposure of female rats to DEHP during gestation and suckling produces alterations in the litter. Female rats were exposed to different concentrations of DEHP suspended in drinking water (32.5 and 325μl/litre) from day 1 of pregnancy to day 21 after delivery. Pup body weight gain and kidney, liver and testes weight was measured at different times (21, 28, 35, 42 and 56 days) after birth. Plasma concentrations of DEHP and histopathological alterations in kidneys, liver and testes were also studied. In addition, the ability of female pups (1 month of age) to perform a learned avoidance test, the 'beam walking' test, was evaluated. Perinatal exposure to DEHP produced no statistically significant changes in the body weight gain of offspring. Conversely, it produced a significant decrease in kidney and testes relative weight (organ/body weight) with a significant increase in relative liver weight. Signs of histological damage in kidneys, liver, and particularly testes, were observed. Pups exposed perinatally to the highest concentration of DEHP elicited a significant increase in the time necessary to perform the beam walking test. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science Ltd.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)963-970
Number of pages8
JournalFood and Chemical Toxicology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1998


  • bis(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate
  • Long-Evans rat
  • Perinatal toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Toxicology


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