Slight changes in the abundance of certain lipid species in the brain may drastically alter normal neurodevelopment via membrane stability, cell signalling, and cell survival. Previous findings have demonstrated that postnatal exposure to di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) disrupts normal axonal and neural development in the hippocampus. The goal of the current study was to determine whether postnatal exposure to DEHP alters the lipid profile in the hippocampus during postnatal development. Systemic treatment with 10 mg/kg DEHP during postnatal development led to elevated levels of phosphatidylcholine and sphingomyelin in the hippocampus of female rats. There was no effect of DEHP exposure on the overall abundance of phosphatidylcholine or sphingomyelin in male rats or of lysophosphatidylcholine in male or female rats. Individual analyses of each identified lipid species revealed 10 phosphatidylcholine and six sphingomyelin lipids in DEHP-treated females and a single lysophosphatidylcholine in DEHP-treated males with a two-fold or higher increase in relative abundance. Our results are congruent with previous work that found that postnatal exposure to DEHP had a near-selective detrimental effect on hippocampal development in males but not females. Together, results suggest a neuroprotective effect of these elevated lipid species in females.

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Keywords Hippocampus, Lysophosphatidylcholine, Mass spectrometry, Phosphatidylcholine, Phthalate, Sphingolipids
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Journal International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Smith, C.A. (Catherine A.), Farmer, K. (Kyle), Lee, H. (Hyunmin), Holahan, M.R, & Smith, J. C. (2015). Altered hippocampal lipid profile following acute postnatal exposure to Di(2-Ethylhexyl) phthalate in rats. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 12(10), 13542–13559. doi:10.3390/ijerph121013542