Environmental and Endogenous Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor ɣ Agonists Induce Bone Marrow B Cell Growth Arrest and Apoptosis: Interactions Between Mono-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate, 9- cis-Retinoic Acid, and 15-Deoxy- Δ(12,14)-prostaglandin J(2)

Document Type


Publication Date



Environmental Studies



Publication Title

The Journal of Immunology


The common commercial use of phthalate esters has resulted in significant human exposure to these bioactive compounds. The facts that phthalate ester metabolites, like endogenous PGs, are peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) agonists, and that PPARγ agonists induce lymphocyte apoptosis suggest that phthalate esters are immunosuppressants that could act together with PGs to modulate early B cell development. In this study we examined the effects of a metabolite of one environmental phthalate, mono(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate (MEHP), and 15-deoxy-Δ12,14-PGJ2 (15d-PGJ2), on developing B cells. MEHP inhibited [3H]thymidine incorporation by primary murine bone marrow B cells and a nontransformed murine pro/pre-B cell line (BU-11). Cotreatment with a retinoid X receptor α ligand, 9-cis-retinoic acid, decreased [3H]thymidine incorporation synergistically, thereby implicating activation of a PPARγ-retinoid X receptor α complex. These results were similar to those obtained with the natural PPARγ ligand 15d-PGJ2. At moderate MEHP concentrations (25 or 100 μM for primary pro-B cells and a pro/pre-B cell line, respectively), inhibition of [3H]thymidine incorporation resulted primarily from apoptosis induction, whereas at lower concentrations, the inhibition probably reflected growth arrest without apoptosis. Cotreatment of bone marrow B cells with 15d-PGJ2 and MEHP significantly enhanced the inhibition of [3H]thymidine incorporation seen with MEHP alone, potentially mimicking exposure in the bone marrow microenvironment where PG concentrations are high. Finally, MEHP- and 15d-PGJ2-induced death does not result from a decrease in NF-κB activation. These data demonstrate that environmental phthalates can cooperate with an endogenous ligand, 15d-PGJ2, to inhibit proliferation of and induce apoptosis in developing bone marrow B cells, potentially via PPARγ activation.


Published as:
Schlezinger, Jennifer J., Gregory J. Howard, Christopher H. Hurst, Jessica K. Emberley, David J. Waxman, Thomas Webster, and David H. Sherr. "Environmental and Endogenous Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor γ Agonists Induce Bone Marrow B Cell Growth Arrest and Apoptosis: Interactions between Mono(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate, 9-cis-Retinoic Acid, and 15-Deoxy-Δ12,14-prostaglandin J2." The Journal of Immunology 173, no. 5 (2004): 3165-77.

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