Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Fall 2017

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair

Carin Thomas

Second Committee Member

Blaise Dondji

Third Committee Member

Todd Kroll


Phthalates are esters of phthalic acid that play a crucial role in the manufacturing industries for enhancing the properties of plastic materials. Di-(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) is one of the most common phthalates used in a variety of products including food packaging and medical equipment. Their use has caused public health concerns because of their toxic effects on reproductive and developmental processes. This study aims to investigate the response of two mouse hepatoma cell lines to the effects of DEHP and its bioactive metabolite mono (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (MEHP). Cells were exposed to four concentrations (10, 50, 100, and 300 µM) of DEHP and MEHP, which are consistent with levels encountered in clinical and environmental exposures for two incubation periods (24 and 48-hour). Several assays were conducted to determine the toxicity through observing cell viability, ATP production, mitochondrial membrane potential, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production. Results indicate significant toxic effects of DEHP and MEHP from cell viability and ATP assessments and show that the two cell lines respond differently to the different concentrations of DEHP and MEHP. However, the mitochondrial membrane potential and reactive oxygen species results show that DEHP and MEHP hepatotoxicity does not apparently involve oxidative stress.