Food contaminants and programming of type 2 diabetes: recent findings from animal studies

J Dev Orig Health Dis. 2016 Oct;7(5):505-512. doi: 10.1017/S2040174416000210. Epub 2016 Jun 13.


It is now accepted that the way our health evolves with aging is intimately linked to the quality of our early life. The present review highlights the emerging data of Developmental Origins of Health and Disease field on developmental disruption by toxicants and their subsequent effect on type 2 diabetes. We report adverse neonatal effects of several food contaminants during pregnancy and lactation, among them bisphenol A, chlorpyrifos, perfluorinated chemicals on pancreas integrity and functionality in later life. The described alterations, in conjunction with disruption of β cell mass in early life, can lead to dysregulation of glucose metabolism, insulin synthesis, which facilitates the development of insulin resistance and progression of diabetes in the adult. Despite limited and often inconclusive epidemiologic and experimental data, more recent data clearly show that infants appear to be at increased risk of type 2 diabetes in later life. This may be a result of continued exposure to chemical food contaminants during the critical window of pancreas development. In societies already burdened with increased incidence of non-communicable chronic diseases, there is a clear need for information regarding the potential harmful effects of chemical food contaminants on adult health diseases.

Keywords: animal models; developmental programming; food contaminants; type 2 diabetes; β cell.