Association of urinary phthalate metabolites and phenolics with adipokines and insulin resistance related markers among women of reproductive age

Inae Lee, Sunmi Kim, Suhyeon Park, Sori Mok, Yunsun Jeong, Hyo Bang Moon, Jangwoo Lee, Sungkyoon Kim, Hai Joong Kim, Gyuyeon Choi, Sooran Choi, Su Young Kim, Aram Lee, Jeongim Park, Kyungho Choi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    23 Citations (Scopus)


    Chemicals such as phthalates and phenolics have been associated with metabolic markers in humans. However, most studies have only looked at a limited number of chemicals, and little is known about their potential effects on adipokines in humans. In the present study, the associations between dozens of urinary chemicals, including phthalate metabolites and phenolics, and markers related to insulin resistance as well as major adipokines, were assessed among the women of reproductive age (n = 459, between 20 and 48 years of age) recruited from major cities in Korea between 2015 and 2016. Adipokines such as adiponectin and leptin, and insulin resistance related markers such as glucose and insulin, were analyzed in serum. Associations between urinary chemicals and the adipokines or insulin resistance related markers were assessed in two steps. First, ordinary least squares (OLS) regression was used to assess the association of each urinary chemical with the adipokines or insulin resistance related markers (single-pollutant model). Second, several chemicals were selected using elastic net regression and were subsequently analyzed with OLS regression model (multi-pollutant model), considering simultaneous exposure to multiple chemicals. In both single- and multi-pollutant models, several urinary chemicals consistently showed significant associations with adipokines or the insulin resistance related markers. The sum of di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate metabolites (ΣDEHPm) and ethyl paraben (EtP) were associated with increased serum adiponectin levels. Urinary ΣDEHPm levels also showed positive associations with fasting glucose. Moreover, urinary mono-methyl phthalate (MMP), mono-isobutyl phthalate (MiBP), and bisphenol S (BPS) levels showed positive associations with the homeostasis model assessment for insulin resistance (HOMA-IR). Interestingly, urinary propyl paraben (PrP) levels showed a negative association with HOMA-IR, in both models. Our observations show that among many consumer chemicals, phthalates may affect serum adipokines, and thus glucose, and insulin resistance in adult females. Further confirmation is warranted in other populations.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1319-1326
    Number of pages8
    JournalScience of the Total Environment
    Publication statusPublished - 2019 Oct 20


    • Adiponectin
    • Glucose
    • Insulin resistance
    • Phenolic
    • Phthalate

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Environmental Engineering
    • Environmental Chemistry
    • Waste Management and Disposal
    • Pollution


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