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      Effect of a Large Dose of Di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) on Hepatic Peroxisome in Cynomolgus Monkeys (Macaca Fascicularis)

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          To elucidate the effect of a large dose of di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), a plasticizer and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-α (PPARα) agonist, on hepatic peroxisomes, we orally administered 1,000 mg/kg/day, once daily, to 3 male and 4 female cynomolgus monkeys for 28 days consecutively. Light-microscopic and electron microscopic examinations of the liver were carried out in conjunction with measurement of the hepatic fatty acid β-oxidation system (FAOS), carnitine acetyltransferase (CAT) and carnitine palmitoyltransferase (CPT) activities, which are peroxisomal and/or mitochondrial enzyme activities. Electron microscopically, enlargement of the mitochondria was observed with lamellar orientation of the cristae along the major axis. Although the number of peroxisomes showed a tendency to increase when compared with those in a biopsied specimen before treatment, no abnormality in morphology was observed. A slight increase in CPT activity was noted at termination. No changes were noted in hepatic FAOS or CAT activity. In conclusion, although repeated oral treatment of cynomolgus monkeys with a large dose of DEHP induced a subtle increase in the numbers of peroxisomes with slight enlargements of the mitochondria, this low-sensitivity response to peroxisome proliferators in cynomolgus monkeys was considered to be closer to the response in humans than that in rodents.

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          Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha and liver cancer: where do we stand?

          The peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha (PPARalpha), first identified in 1990 as a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily, has a central role in the regulation of numerous target genes encoding proteins that modulate fatty acid transport and catabolism. PPARalpha is the molecular target for the widely prescribed lipid-lowering fibrate drugs and the diverse class of chemicals collectively referred to as peroxisome proliferators. The lipid-lowering function of PPARalpha occurs across a number of mammalian species, thus demonstrating the essential role of this nuclear receptor in lipid homeostasis. In contrast, prolonged administration of PPARalpha agonists causes hepatocarcinogenesis, specifically in rats and mice, indicating that PPARalpha also mediates this effect. There is no strong evidence that the low-affinity fibrate ligands are associated with cancer in humans, but it still remains a possibility that chronic activation with high-affinity ligands could be carcinogenic in humans. It is now established that the species difference between rodents and humans in response to peroxisome proliferators is due in part to PPARalpha. The cascade of molecular events leading to liver cancer in rodents involves hepatocyte proliferation and oxidative stress, but the PPARalpha target genes that mediate this response are unknown. This review focuses on the current understanding of the role of PPARalpha in hepatocarcinogenesis and identifies future research directions that should be taken to delineate the mechanisms underlying PPARalpha agonist-induced hepatocarcinogenesis.
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            Modes of action and species-specific effects of di-(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate in the liver.

            The industrial plasticizer di-(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (DEHP) is used in manufacturing of a wide variety of polyvinyl chloride (PVC)-containing medical and consumer products. DEHP belongs to a class of chemicals known as peroxisome proliferators (PPs). PPs are a structurally diverse group of compounds that share many (but perhaps not all) biological effects and are characterized as non-genotoxic rodent carcinogens. This review focuses on the effect of DEHP in liver, a primary target organ for the pleiotropic effects of DEHP and other PPs. Specifically, liver parenchymal cells, identified herein as hepatocytes, are a major cell type that are responsive to exposure to PPs, including DEHP; however, other cell types in the liver may also play a role. The PP-induced increase in the number and size of peroxisomes in hepatocytes, so called 'peroxisome proliferation' that results in elevation of fatty acid metabolism, is a hallmark response to these compounds in the liver. A link between peroxisome proliferation and tumor formation has been a predominant, albeit questioned, theory to explain the cause of a hepatocarcinogenic effect of PPs. Other molecular events, such as induction of cell proliferation, decreased apoptosis, oxidative DNA damage, and selective clonal expansion of the initiated cells have been also been proposed to be critically involved in PP-induced carcinogenesis in liver. Considerable differences in the metabolism and molecular changes induced by DEHP in the liver, most predominantly the activation of the nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR)alpha, have been identified between species. Both sexes of rats and mice develop adenomas and carcinomas after prolonged feeding with DEHP; however, limited DEHP-specific human data are available, even though exposure to DEHP and other phthalates is common in the general population. This likely constitutes the largest gap in our knowledge on the potential for DEHP to cause liver cancer in humans. Overall, it is believed that the sequence of key events that are relevant to DEHP-induced liver carcinogenesis in rodents involves the following events whereby the combination of the molecular signals and multiple pathways, rather than a single hallmark event (such as induction of PPARalpha and peroxisomal genes, or cell proliferation) contribute to the formation of tumors: (i) rapid metabolism of the parental compound to primary and secondary bioactive metabolites that are readily absorbed and distributed throughout the body; (ii) receptor-independent activation of hepatic macrophages and production of oxidants; (iii) activation of PPARalpha in hepatocytes and sustained increase in expression of peroxisomal and non-peroxisomal metabolism-related genes; (iv) enlargement of many hepatocellular organelles (peroxisomes, mitochondria, etc.); (v) rapid but transient increase in cell proliferation, and a decrease in apoptosis; (vi) sustained hepatomegaly; (vii) chronic low-level oxidative stress and accumulation of DNA damage; (viii) selective clonal expansion of the initiated cells; (ix) appearance of the pre-neoplastic nodules; (x) development of adenomas and carcinomas.
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              Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha: role in rodent liver cancer and species differences.

               P Holden,  J D Tugwood (1999)
              Peroxisome proliferators (PPs) are chemicals of industrial and pharmaceutical importance that elicit liver carcinogenesis by a non-genotoxic mechanism. One of the intriguing properties of PPs is that the pleiotropic effects of these compounds (including increased DNA synthesis and peroxisome proliferation) are seen in rats and mice only, but not humans. It is important to determine the risks to humans of environmental and therapeutic exposure to these compounds by understanding the mechanisms of non-genotoxic hepatocarcinogenesis in rodents. To understand this apparent lack of human susceptibility, attention has focused on the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARalpha), which appears to mediate the effects of PPs in rodents. It is also known to mediate the hypolipidaemic effects that fibrate drugs exert on humans with elevated plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels. Human PPARalphas share many functional characteristics with the rodent receptors, in that they can be transcriptionally activated by PPs and regulate specific gene expression. However, one key difference is that PPARalpha is less abundant in human than in rodent liver, which has led to the suggestion that species differences result from quantitative differences in gene expression. In this review we describe the effects of PPs and what is known of the molecular mechanisms of action and species differences with respect to rodents and man. Attention will be given to differences in the amounts of PPARalpha between species as well as the 'qualitative' aspects of PPARalpha-mediated gene regulation which might also explain the activation of some genes and not of others in human liver by PPs.

                Author and article information

                [1]Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories Co., Ltd., 2438 Miyanoura Kagoshima-shi, Kagoshima 891-1394, Japan
                [2]Department of Veterinary Pathology, Faculty of Agriculture, Iwate University, 3–18–8 Ueda, Morioka-shi, Iwate 020-8550, Japan
                [3]The United Graduate School of Veterinary Sciences, Gifu University, 1–1 Yanagido, Gifu-shi, Gifu 501-1193, Japan
                Author notes
                Mailing address: Shigeru Satake, Shin Nippon Biomedical Laboratories Co., Ltd., 2438 Miyanoura Kagoshima-shi, Kagoshima 891-1394, Japan TEL: 81-19-623-7804 FAX: 81-19-623-7804 E-mail:
                J Toxicol Pathol
                Journal of Toxicologic Pathology
                The Japanese Society of Toxicologic Pathology
                June 2010
                30 June 2010
                : 23
                : 2
                : 75-83
                2010 The Japanese Society of Toxicologic Pathology

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial No Derivatives (by-nc-nd) License.



                peroxisome, mitochondria, di (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (dehp), hepatocyte, cynomolgus monkey


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