2013 Volume 38 Issue 3 Pages 325-335
ortho-Phenylphenol has been employed in post-harvest treatment of citrus fruits. Although o-phenylphenol has been reported to cause carcinomas in the urinary tract in rats, toxicity to the immune organs is still unknown. Herein, we report that administration of o-phenylphenol induces thymic atrophy and loss of thymocytes in female BALB/c mice. The influence seems to result from inhibition of the thymocyte development, because increased and decreased populations of the CD4– CD8– double-negative and CD4+ CD8+ double-positive thymocytes were observed in the o-phenylphenol-administered mice, respectively. ortho-Phenylphenol is metabolized to phenylhydroquinone by cytochrome P450 monooxygenases. Phenylhydroquinone made cell cycle of thymocytes to be arrested through reduced expression of the genes associated with G2/M phase and through phosphorylation of p53 at Ser15. Phosphorylation of p53 at Ser15 was upregulated by activation of not only ATR but also Erk1/2 and p38, leading to increase of apoptosis. Gene expression of cytochrome P450 1A1 (CYP1A1) was promoted in thymocytes from the o-phenylphenol-administered mice. Overall, our results suggest that o-phenylphenol induces CYP1A1 expression and is metabolized into phenylhydroquinone by the expressed CYP1A1 in thymocytes. The produced phenylhydroquinone in turn induces inhibition of thymocyte development through cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in the p53-dependent pathway.