Evaluation of a Screening System for Obesogenic Compounds: Screening of Endocrine Disrupting Compounds and Evaluation of the PPAR Dependency of the Effect


"Recently the environmental obesogen hypothesis has been formulated, proposing a role for endocrine disrupting compounds (EDCs) in the development of obesity. To evaluate this hypothesis, a screening system for obesogenic compounds is urgently needed. In this study, we suggest a standardised protocol for obesogen screening based on the 3T3-L1 cell line, a well-characterised adipogenesis model, and direct fluorescent measurement using Nile red lipid staining technique. In a first phase, we characterised the assay using the acknowledged obesogens rosiglitazone and tributyltin. Based on the obtained dose-response curves for these model compounds, a lipid accumulation threshold value was calculated to ensure the biological relevance and reliability of statistically significant effects. This threshold based method was combined with the well described strictly standardized mean difference (SSMD) method for classification of non-, weak- or strong obesogenic compounds. In the next step, a range of EDCs, used in personal and household care products (parabens, musks, phthalates and alkylphenol compounds), were tested to further evaluate the obesogenicity screening assay for its discriminative power and sensitivity. Additionally, the peroxisome proliferator activated receptor γ (PPARγ) dependency of the positive compounds was evaluated using PPARγ activation and antagonist experiments. Our results showed the adipogenic potential of all tested parabens, several musks and phthalate compounds and bisphenol A (BPA). PPARγ activation was associated with adipogenesis for parabens, phthalates and BPA, however not required for obesogenic effects induced by Tonalide, indicating the role of other obesogenic mechanisms for this compound."

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PPAR-mediated activity of phthalates: A link to the obesity epidemic?


"The endocrine disruption hypothesis asserts that exposure to small amounts of some chemicals in the environment may interfere with the endocrine system and lead to harmful effects in wildlife and humans. Many of these chemicals may interact with members of the nuclear receptor superfamily. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) are such candidate members, which interact with many different endogenous and exogenous lipophilic compounds. More particularly, the roles of PPARs in lipid and carbohydrate metabolism raise the question of their activation by a sub-class of pollutants, tentatively named "metabolic disrupters". Phthalates are abundant environmental micro-pollutants in Europe and North America and may belong to this class. Mono-ethyl-hexyl-phthalate (MEHP), a metabolite of the widespread plasticizer di-ethyl-hexyl-phthalate (DEHP), has been found in exposed organisms and interacts with all three PPARs. A thorough analysis of its interactions with PPARgamma identified MEHP as a selective PPARgamma modulator, and thus a possible contributor to the obesity epidemic."