Low-dose food contaminants trigger sex-specific, hepatic metabolic changes in the progeny of obese mice


The Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

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Low-dose food contaminants trigger sex-specific, hepatic metabolic changes in the progeny of obese mice

  1. Danielle Naville*,,
  2. Claudie Pinteur*,,
  3. Nathalie Vega*,,
  4. Yoan Menade*,,
  5. Michèle Vigier*,,
  6. Alexandre Le Bourdais*,,
  7. Emmanuel Labaronne*,,
  8. Cyrille Debard*,,
  9. Céline Luquain-Costaz*,§,
  10. Martine Bégeot*,,
  11. Hubert Vidal*,§ and
  12. Brigitte Le Magueresse-Battistoni*,,2

+ Author Affiliations

  1. *Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (INSERM), U1060, Cardiovasculaire, Métabolisme, Diabétologie, et Nutrition (CarMeN) Laboratory, Oullins, France;

  2. Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA) U1362, Oullins, France;

  3. Université Lyon 1, Villeurbanne, France; and

  4. §Institut National des Sciences Appliquées (INSA)-Lyon, Institut Multidisciplinaire de Biochimie des Lipides (IMBL), Villeurbanne, France
  1. 2Correspondence: INSERM U1060 (CarMeN), Faculté Médecine Lyon-Sud, 165 Chemin du Grand Revoyet, F-69921 Oullins, France. E-mail:


Environmental contaminants are suspected to be involved in the epidemic incidence of metabolic disorders, food ingestion being a primarily route of exposure. We hypothesized that life-long consumption of a high-fat diet that contains low doses of pollutants will aggravate metabolic disorders induced by obesity itself. Mice were challenged from preconception throughout life with a high-fat diet containing pollutants commonly present in food (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, polychlorinated biphenyl 153, diethylhexyl phthalate, and bisphenol A), added at low doses in the tolerable daily intake range. We measured several blood parameters, glucose and insulin tolerance, hepatic lipid accumulation, and gene expression in adult mice. Pollutant-exposed mice exhibited significant sex-dependent metabolic disorders in the absence of toxicity and weight gain. In males, pollutants increased the expression of hepatic genes (from 36 to 88%) encoding proteins related to cholesterol biosynthesis and decreased (40%) hepatic total cholesterol levels. In females, there was a marked deterioration of glucose tolerance, which may be related to the 2-fold induction of estrogen sulfotransferase and reduced expression of estrogen receptor α (25%) and estrogen target genes (>34%). Because of the very low doses of pollutants used in the mixture, these findings may have strong implications in terms of understanding the potential role of environmental contaminants in food in the development of metabolic diseases.—Naville, D., Pinteur, C., Vega, N., Menade, Y., Vigier, M., Le Bourdais, A., Labaronne, E., Debard, C., Luquain-Costaz, C., Bégeot, M., Vidal, H., Le Magueresse-Battistoni, B. Low-dose food contaminants trigger sex-specific, hepatic metabolic changes in the progeny of obese mice.

  • Received March 21, 2013.
  • Accepted May 20, 2013.

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