Ex vivo study of incorporation into adipocytes and lipolysis-inhibition effect of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

Toxicol Lett. 2009 May 22;187(1):35-9. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2009.01.021. Epub 2009 Jan 24.


We have previously shown that benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) administrated at extremely low dose can cause weight gain in mice and that the increase in adipose tissue mass is due to inhibition of beta-adrenergic stimulation of lipolysis. Moreover we have suggested that in addition to its endocrine properties, adipose tissue act as a reservoir for many chemical carcinogens including Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs). In this paper we show that B[a]P as well as the two C4 PAHs, pyrene and phenanthrene can bioaccumulate into adipocytes in a similar manner, but that at the difference of B[a]P, have no impact on epinephrine-induced lipolysis. On the basis of this ex vivo study, we therefore suggest that B[a]P may play a central role in carcinogenesis not only by inducing cancer through its mutagenic properties, but also by increasing the bioaccumulation capacity of the adipose tissue mass.

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / drug effects*
  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Benzo(a)pyrene / metabolism
  • Benzo(a)pyrene / toxicity*
  • Epinephrine / pharmacology
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / metabolism
  • Lipolysis / drug effects*
  • Mice
  • Mutagens / metabolism
  • Mutagens / toxicity*
  • Phenanthrenes / metabolism
  • Phenanthrenes / toxicity*
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Pyrenes / metabolism
  • Pyrenes / toxicity*


  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Mutagens
  • Phenanthrenes
  • Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons
  • Pyrenes
  • Benzo(a)pyrene
  • phenanthrene
  • pyrene
  • Epinephrine