Effect of butyl benzyl phthalate on reproduction and zinc metabolism

Janet Y. Uriu-Adams, C. Kevin Reece, Lan K. Nguyen, Benedetta J. Horvath, Rashmi Nair, Robert A. Barter, Carl L Keen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP) has been shown to be teratogenic. One mechanism contributing to the teratogenicity of several developmental toxicants, is chemical-induced changes in maternal zinc (Zn) metabolism which result in an increased synthesis of maternal liver metallothionein (Mt), and a subsequent reduction in Zn delivery to the conceptus. We investigated the effects of maternal BBP exposure on maternal-fetal Zn metabolism in Wistar rats. In study I, dams were gavaged with BBP (0,250, 1000, 1500 or 2000 mg/kg) on gestation days (GD) 11 through 13, and killed on GD 20. Maternal toxicity was evident in the three highest dose groups. Embryo/fetal death and small pup weights and lengths were noted in the 2000 mg BBP/kg group. Fetuses in the 1500 and 2000 mg/kg groups were characterized by poor skeletal ossification, and a high frequency of cleft palate. Rib anomalies were observed in the three highest dose groups. Maternal liver Mt concentrations were only slightly elevated in the 1500 and 2000 mg/kg groups. In study II, dams treated as above, were gavaged with 65Zn and killed 18 h later. While the 2000 mg/kg group had high percentages of 65Zn in some maternal tissues, sequestration of 65Zn in maternal liver was not evident. Thus, BBP is not a strong inducer of Mt, and the teratogenicity of BBP does not appear to be due to alterations in maternal and/or embryonic Zn metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)55-68
Number of pages14
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Feb 21 2001


  • Zn metabolism
  • Butyl benzyl phthalate
  • Embryonic and fetal development
  • Metallothionein
  • Plasticizer
  • Rats
  • Teratogenicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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