Uterine Fibroid Progression May Relate to Food Preservatives
A research group from Taiwan and Egypt has found that the food preservative butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) contributes to the proliferation of uterine leiomyoma.
BHT is commonly used in packet cake mixes, potato chips, salted peanuts, and dehydrated mashed potatoes.
The study was conducted in a rodent-derived uterine leiomyoma ELT3 cell line, and cells were exposed to BHT over 48 hours. Results showed that BHT exposure increased proliferation of leiomyoma cells.
“Since leiomyoma progression is related to increases in extracellular matrix (ECM) accumulation and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP), BHT could effectively increase ECM-related protein expression, as well as MMP-2 and MMP-9 protein expression,” the researchers wrote. “This increase in ECM, in response to BHT, may be linked to the activation of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway. Through PI3K inhibition, BHT’s effect on leiomyoma progression could be partially modulated.”
This study adds to the growing literature about the causes of uterine leiomyomas, but the researchers say that more studies are needed.
“These results suggest the harmful effect of BHT exposure on leiomyoma progression may relate to PI3K modulation. However, an in vivo study is necessary to confirm these findings,” the researchers concluded.
Chiang YF, Chen HY, Ali M, et al. The role of cell proliferation and extracellular matrix accumulation induced by food additive butylated hydroxytoluene in uterine leiomyoma. Nutrients. 2021;13(9):3074. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13093074