Di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP), a peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor α (PPARα) ligand, alters the lipid composition of rat testis, yet the mechanism is unclear. In this study, we investigated the effect of DEHP on the synthesis and metabolism of arachidonic acid (AA), a precursor of eicosanoids, in the testis of prepubertal rats. DEHP (100 and 1,000 mg/kg, 5 days) administration caused a significant reduction in activity of cytosolic phospholipase A2 (cPLA2), the rate-limiting enzyme in the AA and eicosanoid synthesis pathways. DEHP increased the expression of 12-lipoxygenase (12-LOX) in rat testis, whereas cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression was not altered. Cytochrome P450 4A1 (CYP4A1), a product of a PPARα-regulated gene, was markedly increased in the testis by DEHP administration. Taken together, DEHP suppresses cPLA2 activity and induces the AA metabolizing enzymes such as 12-LOX and CYP4A1, resulting in the reduction of AA level. These data suggest that altered AA metabolic cascades may be related to the decrease of testosterone concentration in DEHP-induced testicular atrophy.
2004 by the Japanese Society of Veterinary Science