Effects of arsenic on adipocyte metabolism: Is arsenic an obesogen?

Mol Cell Endocrinol. 2017 Sep 5;452:25-32. doi: 10.1016/j.mce.2017.05.008. Epub 2017 May 8.


The environmental obesogen model proposes that in addition to a high-calorie diet and diminished physical activity, other factors such as environmental pollutants and chemicals are involved in the development of obesity. Although arsenic has been recognized as a risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes with a specific mechanism, it is still uncertain whether arsenic is also an obesogen. The impairment of white adipose tissue (WAT) metabolism is crucial in the onset of obesity, and distinct studies have evaluated the effects of arsenic on it, however only in some of them for obesity-related purposes. Thus, the known effects of arsenic on WAT/adipocytes were integrated based on the diverse metabolic and physiological processes that occur in WAT and are altered in obesity, specifically: adipocyte growth, adipokine secretion, lipid metabolism, and glucose metabolism. The currently available information suggests that arsenic can negatively affect WAT metabolism, resulting in arsenic being a potential obesogen.

Keywords: Adipogenesis; Adipokines; Adipose tissue; Arsenic; Glucose uptake; Lipolysis; Obesity; Obesogen.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / drug effects*
  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Adipogenesis / drug effects*
  • Adipokines / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue, White / drug effects*
  • Adipose Tissue, White / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Arsenic / toxicity*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / chemically induced*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Obesity / chemically induced*
  • Risk Factors


  • Adipokines
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Glucose
  • Arsenic