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Int J Mol Sci. 2014 May 5;15(5):7787-811. doi: 10.3390/ijms15057787.

Association of dioxin and other persistent organic pollutants (POPs) with diabetes: epidemiological evidence and new mechanisms of beta cell dysfunction.

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Department of Translational Research and New Technologies in Medicine and Surgery, University of Pisa, Via Roma, 55, Scuola Medica, 56126 Pisa, Italy.


The worldwide explosion of the rates of diabetes and other metabolic diseases in the last few decades cannot be fully explained only by changes in the prevalence of classical lifestyle-related risk factors, such as physical inactivity and poor diet. For this reason, it has been recently proposed that other "nontraditional" risk factors could contribute to the diabetes epidemics. In particular, an increasing number of reports indicate that chronic exposure to and accumulation of a low concentration of environmental pollutants (especially the so-called persistent organic pollutants (POPs)) within the body might be associated with diabetogenesis. In this review, the epidemiological evidence suggesting a relationship between dioxin and other POPs exposure and diabetes incidence will be summarized, and some recent developments on the possible underlying mechanisms, with particular reference to dioxin, will be presented and discussed.

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