Effect of environmental contaminants on Beta cell function

Int J Toxicol. 2011 Aug;30(4):410-8. doi: 10.1177/1091581811405544. Epub 2011 Jun 24.


There is an increasing concern that chemicals in the environment are contributing to the global rise in the prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D). However, there is limited evidence for direct effects of these chemicals on beta cell function. Therefore, the goals of this study were (1) to test the hypothesis that environmental contaminants can directly affect beta cell function and (2) examine mechanistic pathways by which these contaminants could affect beta cell function. Using mouse beta TC-6 cells, we examined the acute effects of 6 substances (benzo[a]pyrene, bisphenol A [BPA], propylparaben, methylparaben, perfluorooctanoic acid, and perfluorooctyl sulfone) on insulin secretion. Only BPA treatment directly affected insulin secretion. Furthermore, chronic exposure to BPA altered the expression of key proteins in the cellular and endoplasmic reticulum stress response. These data suggest that long-term BPA exposure may be detrimental to beta cell function and ultimately be an important contributor to the etiology of T2D.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Benzo(a)pyrene / toxicity
  • Biomarkers
  • Caprylates / toxicity
  • Cell Line
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / chemically induced
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Fluorocarbons / toxicity
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Secretion
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / drug effects*
  • Mice
  • Mitochondria / drug effects
  • Parabens / toxicity
  • Phenols / toxicity
  • Prevalence


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Biomarkers
  • Caprylates
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Fluorocarbons
  • Insulin
  • Parabens
  • Phenols
  • Benzo(a)pyrene
  • perfluorooctanoic acid
  • methylparaben
  • bisphenol A
  • propylparaben