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J Hazard Mater. 2010 Oct 15;182(1-3):649-55. doi: 10.1016/j.jhazmat.2010.06.081. Epub 2010 Jun 25.

Effects of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin on adipogenic differentiation and insulin-induced glucose uptake in 3T3-L1 cells.

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Division of Environmental Health and Occupational Medicine, National Health Research Institutes, Zhunan, Miaoli County 35053, Taiwan.


Dioxin exposure has been positively associated with human type II diabetes. Because lipophilic dioxins accumulate mainly in adipose tissue, this study aimed to determine if dioxins induce metabolic dysfunction in fat cells. Using 3T3-L1 cells as an in vitro model, we analyzed the effects of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD), a model dioxin, on adipogenic differentiation, glucose uptake, and lipolysis. TCDD inhibited adipogenic differentiation, as determined by using oil droplet formation and adipogenic marker gene expression, including PPARgamma (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma), C/EBPalpha (CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein alpha), and Glut4 (glucose transporter type 4). Effects of TCDD on glucose uptake were evaluated using fully differentiated 3T3-L1 adipocytes, revealing that TCDD significantly attenuated insulin-induced glucose uptake dose dependently. Inhibition of aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) by alpha-naphthoflavone (alpha-NF), an AhR inhibitor, did not prevent the inhibitory effect of TCDD on glucose uptake, suggesting that TCDD attenuates insulin-induced glucose uptake in an AhR-independent manner. Effects of TCDD on lipolysis were determined using glycerol release assay. We found that TCDD had no marked effect on isoproterenol-induced glycerol release in fully differentiated 3T3-L1 adipocytes. These results provide in vitro evidence of TCDD's effects on fat cell metabolism, suggesting dioxin exposure in development of insulin resistance and type II diabetes.

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