Di-(2-ethylhexyl) Phthalate-Induced Hippocampus-Derived Neural Stem Cells Proliferation

Document Type : Short Communication


1 Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Zanjan University of Medical Sciences, Zanjan, Iran

2 Department of Clinical Biochemistry, Faculty of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran

3 Student Research Committee Center, Ilam University of Medical Sciences, Ilam, Iran


The brain and spinal cord have a limited capacity for self-repair under damaged conditions. One of the best options to overcome these limitations involves the use of phytochemicals as potential therapeutic agents. In this study, we have aimed to investigate the effects of di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) on hippocampus-derived neural stem cells (NSCs) proliferation to search phytochemical candidates for possible treatment of neurological diseases using endogenous capacity. In this experimental study, neonatal rat hippocampus-derived NSCs were cultured and treated with various concentrations of DEHP (0, 100, 200, 400 and 600 µM) and Cirsium vulgare (C. vulgare) hydroethanolic extract (0, 200, 400, 600, 800 and 1000 µg/ml) for 48 hours under in vitro conditions. Cell proliferation rates and quantitative Sox2 gene expression were evaluated using MTT assay and real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). We observed the highest average growth rate in the 400 µM DEHP and 800 µg/ml C. vulgare extract treated groups. Sox2 expression in the DEHP-treated NSCs significantly increased compared to the control group. Gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (GC/ MS) results demonstrated that the active ingredients that naturally occurred in the C. vulgare hydroethanolic extract were 2-ethyl-1-hexanamine, n-heptacosane, 1-cyclopentanecarboxylic acid, 1-heptadecanamine, 2,6-octadien-1-ol,2,6,10,14,18,22-tetracosahexaene, and DEHP. DEHP profoundly stimulated NSCs proliferation through Sox2 gene overexpression. These results provide and opportunity for further use of the C. vulgure phytochemicals for prevention and/or treatment of neurological diseases via phytochemical mediated-proliferation of endogenous adult NSCs.