Gut Microbiota, Endocrine-Disrupting Chemicals, and the Diabetes Epidemic

Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Aug;28(8):612-625. doi: 10.1016/j.tem.2017.05.001. Epub 2017 May 29.


Diabetes is rapidly emerging as one of the biggest health concerns worldwide, with profound implications for disability, mortality, and costs. This suddenly escalating rate of diabetes correlates with global industrialization and the production of plastics, pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, electronic waste, and food additives that release endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) into the environment and the food chain. Emerging evidence indicates an association between exposure of EDCs and diabetes. In humans, these chemicals are also metabolized by the gut microbiota and thereby their toxicodynamics are altered. In this review we highlight studies that focus on the role of gut microbiota in EDC-induced hyperglycemia and dysregulated glucose homeostasis. We also discuss the translational implications of understanding EDC-microbiota interactions for the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes.

Keywords: diabetes epidemic; endocrine-disrupting chemicals; glucose homeostasis; gut microbiota; microbial dysbiosis; microbial metabolism.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Diabetes Mellitus / etiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / microbiology
  • Endocrine Disruptors / metabolism
  • Endocrine Disruptors / toxicity*
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity
  • Epidemics
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Inactivation, Metabolic / physiology
  • Incidence


  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Environmental Pollutants