Thyromimetic actions of tetrabromobisphenol A (TBBPA) in steatotic FaO rat hepatoma cells

Chemosphere. 2014 Oct;112:511-8. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2014.03.114. Epub 2014 Jun 9.


Tetrabromobisphenol A (2,2-bis(3,5-dibromo-4-hydroxyphenyl propane-TBBPA) is the most produced brominated flame retardant, detected in the environment and in biological samples. TBBPA shares structural similarities with thyroid hormones (THs), and it has been shown to interfere with different aspects of TH physiology, this raising concern on its possible effects as an endocrine disruptor in humans and wildlife. THs play a major role in lipid metabolism, with the liver representing one of their main target tissues. At the cellular level, THs act through interactions with TH receptors (TRs), as well as through TR-independent mechanisms. Rat hepatoma FaO cells (a liver cell line defective for functional TRs) overloaded with lipids have been utilized as a model to investigate the anti-steatotic effects of THs in the hepatocyte. In this work, the possible effects of TBBPA in steatotic FaO cells were investigated. Exposure to TBBPA for 24 h reduced triglyceride (TAG) content and the size of lipid droplets (LDs); similar effects were obtained with equimolar doses (10(-6) M) of T3 (3,3',5-L-triiodothyronine). TBBPA and T3 showed common effects on transcription of genes involved in lipid homeostasis. In particular, TBBPA mainly up-regulated mRNA levels for LD-associated oxidative tissue-enriched PAT protein (OXPAT), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) isoform β/δ, and the mitochondrial uncoupling protein 2 (UCP2). The results demonstrate that TBBPA can decrease lipid accumulation in steatotic cells through stimulation of oxidative pathways. These data identify novel thyromimetic actions of TBBPA at the cellular level.

Keywords: FaO hepatoma cells; Gene expression; Lipid homeostasis; PPAR; Tetrabromobisphenol A; Thyroid hormones.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / pathology*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Endocrine Disruptors / chemistry
  • Endocrine Disruptors / toxicity*
  • Fatty Liver / pathology*
  • Hepatocytes / drug effects
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Hepatocytes / pathology
  • Homeostasis / drug effects
  • Intracellular Space / drug effects
  • Intracellular Space / metabolism
  • Ion Channels / genetics
  • Liver Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Mitochondrial Proteins / genetics
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors / genetics
  • Polybrominated Biphenyls / chemistry
  • Polybrominated Biphenyls / toxicity*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Thyroid Hormones / chemistry*
  • Thyroid Hormones / metabolism*
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects
  • Triglycerides / metabolism
  • Uncoupling Protein 2


  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Ion Channels
  • Mitochondrial Proteins
  • Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptors
  • Polybrominated Biphenyls
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Thyroid Hormones
  • Triglycerides
  • UCP2 protein, human
  • Ucp2 protein, rat
  • Uncoupling Protein 2
  • tetrabromobisphenol A