Synthetic pyrethroids common metabolite 3-phenoxybenzoic acid induces caspase-3 and Bcl-2 mediated apoptosis in human hepatocyte cells

Güvenç D., İnal S., Kuruca N., Gokmen S., Güvenç T.

Drug and Chemical Toxicology, vol.45, no.5, pp.1971-1977, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 45 Issue: 5
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/01480545.2021.1894720
  • Journal Name: Drug and Chemical Toxicology
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Chemical Abstracts Core, EMBASE, Environment Index, Food Science & Technology Abstracts, International Pharmaceutical Abstracts, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.1971-1977
  • Keywords: 3-Phenoxybenzoic acid, apoptosis, Bcl-2, caspase-3, hepatotoxicity
  • Ondokuz Mayıs University Affiliated: Yes


Synthetic pyrethroids are a group of insecticides frequently used in public health and agriculture, and 3-PBA is a common metabolite of them. Although the liver is the primary organ responsible for metabolizing many compounds including pesticides, to the authors’ knowledge there have been no studies on the direct hepatotoxic effects of 3-PBA. Therefore, this study aimed to investigate the possible hepatotoxic effects of 3-PBA on a Human Hepatoma Cell Line (HepG2) and the underlying apoptotic mechanisms. Firstly, an LC50 of 1041.242 µM was calculated for 3-PBA by using the WST-1 test with concentrations ranging between 1 µM and 10 mM. Following that, the HepG2 cells in the experimental group were exposed to 3 different concentrations of 3-PBA (1/5 LC50, 1/10 LC50 and 1/20 LC50) for 24 hours. The apoptotic mechanism was evaluated by using flow cytometry, and immunofluorescence assays for Caspase 3 and Bcl-2. In the flow cytometry assay, the total number of apoptotic cells increased in a dose dependent manner (p < 0.05). In the immunofluorescence assay, the Caspase 3 protein showed strong immunoreactivity in the experimental groups, while the reaction to the Bcl-2 protein was minimal. These results demonstrated that 3-PBA has a significant hepatotoxic effect on HepG2 cells and induces apoptosis via the regulation of Caspase-3 and Bcl-2. Furthermore, our results could further the understanding of the fundamental molecular mechanisms of 3-PBA hepatotoxicity. More studies are needed to determine the effects of long-term exposure to 3-PBA and also the molecular mechanisms underlying hepatotoxicity.