Low-dose persistent organic pollutants (POPs), especially organochlorine pesticides (OCPs) and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), have emerged as a new risk factor for type 2 diabetes. We evaluated whether chronic exposure to low-dose POPs affects insulin secretory function of β-cells in humans and in vitro cells. Serum concentrations of OCPs and PCBs were measured in 200 adults without diabetes. Mathematical model-based insulin secretion indices were estimated by using a 2-h seven-sample oral glucose tolerance test. Insulin secretion by INS-1E β-cells was measured after 48 h of treatment with three OCPs or one PCB mixture. Static second-phase insulin secretion significantly decreased with increasing serum concentrations of OCPs. Adjusted means were 63.2, 39.3, 44.1, 39.3, 39.7, and 22.3 across six categories of a summary measure of OCPs (Ptrend = 0.02). Dynamic first-phase insulin secretion remarkably decreased with increasing concentrations of OCPs among only insulin-sensitive individuals (Ptrend = 0.02); the insulin levels among individuals with high OCPs were ∼30% of those with low OCPs. Compared with OCPs, PCBs showed weaker associations. The decreased insulin secretion by INS-1E β-cells was observed for even 1 pmol/L OCP. The data from human and in vitro cell experiments suggest that chronic exposure to low-dose POPs, especially OCPs, can induce pancreatic β-cell dysfunction.
© 2017 by the American Diabetes Association.