To investigate possible potential inducing preneoplastic lesions in liver and in vivo genotoxic potential of diheptyl phthalate (DHP), male F344 rats were subjected to repeated oral administration of DHP at 0, 2.5 or 5 g/kg/day for 28 days. In addition, F344 rats were subjected to once or 14 repeated oral administrations of 5 g/kg/day of DHP, and their livers were subjected to analysis in an alkaline single-cell gel electrophoresis (comet) assay. Furthermore, based on the results of these studies, partial hepatectomized male F344 rats given once, three times, and 14 repeated oral administration of 0, 2.5 or 5 g/kg body weight of DHP were examined by an in vivo liver initiation assay. In a 28-day repeated dose toxicity study, the number and area of glutathione-S-transferase placental form (GST-P) positive foci, a marker of hepatocellular preneoplastic lesions in rats, were significantly increased in DHP-treated groups compared with controls. At 24h after the 14 repeated administrations of DHP, DNA migration, a marker of DNA damage in the comet assay, was significantly induced in DHP-treated rat livers, whereas single treatment did not show such an alteration. In an in vivo liver initiation assay, a significant increase in the number and area of GST-P positive foci was observed in DHP-treated groups subjected to 14 repeated oral administrations of DHP as compared with the control group. These results indicate that DHP may induce altered hepatocellular foci in liver of rats which suggests that DHP is a genotoxic carcinogen in the liver of rats.
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