A chemical found in household fittings has been found to affect the development of the mammary gland in rats and further studies will be required to determine if the presence of this chemical could lead to breast cancer. New research published in the online open access journal BMC Genomics is the first to show that this chemical can affect the breasts' genomic profile.
Jose Russo and coworkers from the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, along with colleagues from the University of Alabama in Birmingham, US, fed lactating rats with butyl benzyl phthalate (BBP), which their offspring then absorbed via breast milk. The offspring ingested levels of chemical estimated to be nearly equivalent to the Environmental Protection Agency's safe dose limit of BBP for humans.
The researchers found that BBP had a transitory effect on certain characteristics of the female offspring of the rats, such as the ratio of uterine weight to body weight and the genetic profile of the mammary gland. Dr Russo stated: "We are the first to report that neonatal/prepubertal exposure to BBP induced modifications in the gene expression of the mammary tissue."
Although these effects wore off once exposure to BBP was removed, the subtle changes in the mammary gland may have an effect later in life.
BBP is widely used as a plasticizer, an additive used to soften polymers, and is found in household fittings such as pipes, vinyl floor tiles and carpet backing. This type of chemical is known to be an endocrine disruptor, which mimics the effect of hormones. Endocrine disruptors are known to damage wildlife and they have also been implicated in reduced sperm counts and neurological problems in humans.
The plasticizer butyl benzyl phthalate induces genomic changes in rat mammary gland after neonatal/prepubertal exposure
Raquel Moral, Richard Wang, Irma H Russo, Daniel A Mailo, Gabriela Balogh, Coral A Lamartiniere, Jose Russo
BMC Genomics (in press)
During embargo, article available at:
After the embargo, article available from the journal website at:
Article citation and URL available on request at firstname.lastname@example.org on the day of publication
Please quote the journal in any story you write. If you are writing for the web, please link to the article. All articles are available free of charge, according to BioMed Central's Open Access policy.
To speak with the author, please contact Diana Quattrone(Press Office Fox Chase Cancer Center)
Phone: +001 215-728-7784
BMC Genomics is an open access journal publishing original peer-reviewed research articles in all aspects of gene mapping, sequencing and analysis, functional genomics, and proteomics. BMC Genomics (ISSN 1471-2164) is indexed/tracked/covered by PubMed, MEDLINE, BIOSIS, CAS, Scopus, EMBASE, Zoological Record, Thomson Scientific (ISI) and Google Scholar.
BioMed Central (http://www.biomedcentral.com) is an independent online publishing house committed to providing open access to peer-reviewed biological and medical research. This commitment is based on the view that immediate free access to research and the ability to freely archive and reuse published information is essential to the rapid and efficient communication of science.
BioMed Central currently publishes over 180 journals across biology and medicine. In addition to open-access original research, BioMed Central also publishes reviews, commentaries and other non-original-research content. Depending on the policies of the individual journal, this content may be open access or provided only to subscribers.