As they reached adulthood, female mice who were exposed in utero and just after birth to the pesticide DDT showed metabolic changes that put them at greater risk for obesity, type-2 diabetes, high cholesterol and related conditions in female offspring later in life, a study led by the University of California, Davis, says.
“Perinatal Exposure of Mice to the Pesticide DDT Impairs Energy Expenditure and Metabolism in Adult Female Offspring” is the first study to show that developmental exposure to DDT – like other persistent organic pollutants (POPs) – increases the risk of females later developing metabolic syndrome – a cluster of conditions that include increased body fat, blood glucose and cholesterol.
Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) has been used extensively to control malaria, typhus, body lice and bubonic plague worldwide, until countries began restricting its use in the 1970s. Its use in malaria control continues in some countries according to recommendation by the World Health Organization. Individuals exposed to elevated levels of DDT and its metabolite dichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (DDE) have an increased prevalence of diabetes and insulin resistance. Here we hypothesize that perinatal exposure to DDT disrupts metabolic programming leading to impaired metabolism in adult offspring. To test this, we administered DDT to C57BL/6J mice from gestational day 11.5 to postnatal day 5 and studied their metabolic phenotype at several ages up to nine months. Perinatal DDT exposure reduced core body temperature, impaired cold tolerance, decreased energy expenditure, and produced a transient early-life increase in body fat in female offspring. When challenged with a high fat diet for 12 weeks in adulthood, female offspring perinatally exposed to DDT developed glucose intolerance, hyperinsulinemia, dyslipidemia, and altered bile acid metabolism. Perinatal DDT exposure combined with high fat feeding in adulthood further impaired thermogenesis as evidenced by reductions in core temperature and in the expression of numerous RNA that promote thermogenesis and substrate utilization in the brown adipose tissue of adult female mice. These observations suggest that perinatal DDT exposure impairs thermogenesis and the metabolism of carbohydrates and lipids which may increase susceptibility to the metabolic syndrome in adult female offspring.
Sources and More Information
- Pesticide DDT linked to slow metabolism, obesity and diabetes, UCDavis, news_detail.lasso?id=10982, July 30, 2014.
- Perinatal Exposure of Mice to the Pesticide DDT Impairs Energy Expenditure and Metabolism in Adult Female Offspring, PLOS one, DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0103337, July 30, 2014.
- Study says early DDT exposure may set up females for obesity, diabetes, LosAngelesTimes, Science, July 31, 2014.