PCBs-high-fat diet interactions as mediators of gut microbiota dysbiosis and abdominal fat accumulation in female mice

Environ Pollut. 2018 Aug;239:332-341. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2018.04.001. Epub 2018 Apr 16.


Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), one type of lipophilic pollutant, are ubiquitous in daily life. PCBs exposure has been implicated in the alterations of gut microbial community which is profoundly associated with diverse metabolic disorders, including obesity. High-fat diet (H) is a dietary pattern characterized by a high percentage of fat. According to the theory that similarities can be easily solvable in each other, PCBs and H exposures are inevitably and objectively coexistent in a real living environment, prompting great concerns about their individual and combined effects on hosts. However, the effects of PCBs-H interactions on gut microbiota and obesity are still incompletely understood. In the present study, the effects of PCBs and/or H on the gut microbiota alteration and obesity risk in mice were examined and the interactions between PCBs and H were investigated. Obtained results showed that PCBs and/or H exposure induced prominent variations in the gut microbiota composition and diversity. Exposure to PCBs also resulted in higher body fat percentage, greater size of abdominal subcutaneous adipocytes and increased expression of proinflammatory cytokines including TNF-α, iNOS and IL-6. Such PCBs-induced changes could be further enhanced upon the co-exposure of H, implying that obese individuals may be vulnerable to PCBs exposure. Taken together, the present study is helpful for a better understanding of the gut microbiota variation influenced by PCBs and/or H exposure, and furthermore, provides a novel insight into the mechanism of PCBs-H interactions on host adiposity.

Keywords: Co-exposure; Gut microbiota; High-fat diet; Interaction; Obesity; Polychlorinated biphenyls.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Fat
  • Animals
  • Diet, High-Fat*
  • Dietary Exposure
  • Dysbiosis / chemically induced*
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Obesity / chemically induced*
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls / toxicity*


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Polychlorinated Biphenyls