Environmental Contaminants and Pancreatic Beta-Cells

J Clin Res Pediatr Endocrinol. 2016 Sep 1;8(3):257-63. doi: 10.4274/jcrpe.2812. Epub 2016 Apr 18.


Despite health policies as well as clinical and research efforts, diabetes prevalence is still rising around the world. A multitude of causes have been suggested for this increase, mostly related to familial background, the occidental diet which is rich in fat/carbohydrates, and sedentary life style. Type 2 diabetes involves malfunctions of the primary pancreatic beta-cells, usually attributed to local damage; however, it can be associated with other stressful environmental agents, such as chemical contaminants from food, plastic and air, among others. Indeed, exposure to these chemical agents during perinatal and adolescent life can increase the risk of developing cardiometabolic diseases later in life. This review explores data showing which environmental chemical agents may produce injury in beta-cells and further impair the insulinotropic process of type 2 diabetes. Additionally, it points the need to also consider unusual causes of metabolic diseases, such as environmental contaminants.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / chemically induced
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology*
  • Environmental Pollutants / poisoning*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / drug effects*
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / pathology
  • Metabolic Diseases / chemically induced
  • Metabolic Diseases / physiopathology
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / chemically induced
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / physiopathology*


  • Environmental Pollutants