Permethrin alters glucose metabolism in conjunction with high fat diet by potentiating insulin resistance and decreases voluntary activities in female C57BL/6J mice

Food Chem Toxicol. 2017 Oct;108(Pt A):161-170. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2017.07.053. Epub 2017 Jul 28.


Permethrin, a type 1 pyrethroid insecticide, was previously reported to promote adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 adipocytes and insulin resistance in C2C12 muscle cells; however, the effects of permethrin exposure on glucose and lipid metabolisms in vivo remain unknown. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of permethrin exposure on glucose and lipid homeostasis as well as voluntary movement in female mice in response to dietary fat. We tested three doses of permethrin (50, 500, & 5000 μg/kg body weight/day) in low fat diet-fed (4% w/w of diet) and high fat diet-fed (20% w/w of diet) female C57BL/6 J mice for twelve weeks. Our results demonstrated that permethrin treatment potentiated high fat diet-induced insulin resistance as indicated by insulin tolerance tests, glucose tolerance tests, and homeostasis model assessment - insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) without altering weight or fat mass. Permethrin treatment significantly decreased voluntary movement and elevated blood glucose and insulin levels. Western blot results further showed that permethrin impaired insulin signaling via the Akt signaling pathway in the gastrocnemius muscle. Taken together, these results suggest that oral administration of permethrin potentiated high fat diet-induced insulin resistance, possibly increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes without altering weight gain in female C57BL/6 J mice.

Keywords: Glucose metabolism; Insecticide; Permethrin; Voluntary activities.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Dietary Fats / administration & dosage*
  • Energy Intake / drug effects
  • Female
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Homeostasis / drug effects
  • Insecticides / pharmacology
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Motor Activity / drug effects*
  • Permethrin / pharmacology*


  • Dietary Fats
  • Insecticides
  • Permethrin
  • Glucose