Tributyltin causes obesity and hepatic steatosis in male mice

Environ Toxicol. 2011 Feb;26(1):79-85. doi: 10.1002/tox.20531.


Organotin compounds such as tributyltin (TBT) have been used worldwide in agriculture and industry as biocides, heat stabilizers, and chemical catalysts. However, few studies addressing the effects of TBT on growth and metabolism have been reported. This study was conducted to investigate the effects of TBT at low doses (0.5, 5, and 50 μg/kg) on body weight gain in male mice exposed as from puberty and to determine the alterations in related hormones. The results showed that exposure to TBT for 45 days resulted in an increase in body weight gain and hepatic steatosis accompanied with hyperinsulinemia and hyperleptinemia. Reduction of hepatic adiponectin levels in a dose-dependent manner was related to the lipid increase in the liver. These results suggest that chronic and repeat exposure to low doses of TBT can result in obesity and hepatic steatosis and induce the occurrence of insulin and leptin resistance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Fatty Liver / blood
  • Fatty Liver / chemically induced*
  • Fatty Liver / metabolism
  • Growth and Development / drug effects
  • Hormones / blood
  • Hyperinsulinism / blood
  • Hyperinsulinism / chemically induced
  • Hyperinsulinism / metabolism
  • Leptin / metabolism
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / chemically induced*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Trialkyltin Compounds / toxicity*
  • Weight Gain / drug effects


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Hormones
  • Leptin
  • Trialkyltin Compounds
  • tributyltin