Permethrin potentiates adipogenesis via intracellular calcium and endoplasmic reticulum stress-mediated mechanisms in 3T3-L1 adipocytes

Food Chem Toxicol. 2017 Nov;109(Pt 1):123-129. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2017.08.049. Epub 2017 Sep 20.


Permethrin, a pyrethroid insecticide, was previously reported to promote adipogenesis in vitro and weight gain in vivo. The mechanism by which permethrin promotes adipogenesis/obesity, however, has not been fully explored. Intracellular calcium and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress have been reported to be linked with adipogenesis and obesity. Because pyrethroid insecticides have been determined to influence intracellular calcium and ER stress in vitro, the purpose of this current study was to investigate whether permethrin potentiates adipogenesis via a change in intracellular calcium, leading to endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. 3T3-L1 cells were exposed to four different concentrations of permethrin (0.01, 0.1, 1 & 10 μM) for 6 days during differentiation. Treatment of permethrin increased intracellular calcium level in a concentration-dependent manner. Similarly, permethrin treatment increased protein levels of ER stress markers in a concentration-dependent manner. These data suggest that intracellular calcium and ER stress may be involved in permethrin-induced adipogenesis of 3T3-L1 cells.

Keywords: Adipogenesis; Calcium; ER stress; Insecticide; Permethrin.

MeSH terms

  • 3T3-L1 Cells
  • Adipocytes / cytology
  • Adipocytes / drug effects*
  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Adipogenesis / drug effects*
  • Animals
  • Calcium / metabolism*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / drug effects
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress / drug effects*
  • Insecticides / adverse effects*
  • Mice
  • Permethrin / adverse effects*
  • Permethrin / pharmacology


  • Insecticides
  • Permethrin
  • Calcium