Environmental toxicology and pharmacology

The adverse effect of 4-tert-octylphenol on fat metabolism in pregnant rats via regulation of lipogenic proteins.

PMID 26164745


Alkylphenols such as 4-tert-octylphenol (OP), nonylphenol, and bisphenol A are classified as endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs). Digestion and metabolism of food are controlled by many endocrine factors, including insulin, glucagon, and estrogen. These factors are differentially regulated during pregnancy. The alteration of nutritional intake and fat metabolism may affect the maintenance of pregnancy and supplementation of nutrients to the fetus, and therefore can cause severe metabolic diseases such as ketosis, marasmus and diabetes mellitus in pregnant individuals. In this study, we examined the effects of OP on fat metabolism in pregnant rats. Ethinyl estradiol (EE) was also administered as an estrogenic positive control. In our results, rats treated with OP showed significantly reduced body weights compared to the control group. In addition, histological analysis showed that the amount of fat deposited in adipocytes was reduced by OP treatment. To study the mechanism of action of OP in fat metabolism, we examined the expression levels of fat metabolism-associated genes in rat adipose tissue and liver by real-time PCR. OP and EE negatively regulated the expression of lipogenic enzymes, including FAS (fatty acid synthase), ACC-1 (acetyl-CoA carboxylase-1), and SCD-1 (stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1). The levels of lipogenic enzyme-associated transcription factors such as C/EBP-α (CAAT enhancer binding protein alpha) and SREBP-1c (sterol regulatory element binding protein-1c) were also reduced in both liver and adipose tissue. In summary, these findings suggest that OP has adverse effects on fat metabolism in pregnant rats and inhibits fat deposition via regulating lipogenic genes in the liver and adipose tissue. The altered fat metabolism by OP may affect the nutrition balance during pregnancy and can cause metabolism-related diseases.