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Toxicol Sci. 2018 Dec 1;166(2):332-344. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfy209.

Tetrabromobisphenol-A Promotes Early Adipogenesis and Lipogenesis in 3T3-L1 Cells.

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National Toxicology Program Laboratory (NTPL), Division of the National Toxicology Program, National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27709.
Department of Developmental and Cell Biology, University of California, Irvine, California 92697.


Tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) is the most common flame retardant used in electrical housings, circuit boards, and automobiles. High-throughput screening and binding assays have identified TBBPA as an agonist for human peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ), the master regulator of adipogenesis. TBBPA has been suggested to be an obesogen based on in vitro cellular assays and zebrafish data. We hypothesized that exposing preadipocytes to TBBPA could influence adipogenesis via genes other than those in the PPARγ pathway due to its structural similarity to bisphenol A, which demonstrates varied endocrine disrupting activities. Mouse-derived 3T3-L1 preadipocytes were induced to differentiate and continually treated with TBBPA for 8 days. High-content imaging of adipocytes displayed increased adipocyte number and lipid accumulation when treated with TBBPA. TBBPA exhibited weak induction of mPPARγ, with an AC50 of 397 µM. Quantitative PCR revealed that TBBPA exposure increased early expression of genes involved in glucocorticoid receptor (GR) signaling and PPARγ transcriptional activation, as well as upregulating downstream genes needed for adipocyte maintenance and nontraditional ER signaling, such as Gpr30. Additionally, Pref1 and Thy1, inhibitors of differentiation, were downregulated by some concentrations of TBBPA. Furthermore, proliferating preadipocytes treated with TBBPA, only prior to differentiation, exhibited increased adipocyte number and lipid accumulation after 8 days in normal culture conditions. In conclusion, TBBPA influenced gene expression changes in GR, nontraditional ER, and known adipogenic regulatory genes, prior to PPARγ expression; effects suggesting early programming of adipogenic pathways.

[Available on 2019-12-01]

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