Effect of Subtoxic DDT Exposure on Glucose Uptake and Insulin Signaling in Rat L6 Myoblast-Derived Myotubes

Int J Toxicol. 2019 Jul/Aug;38(4):303-311. doi: 10.1177/1091581819850577. Epub 2019 May 23.


Exposure to persistent organic pollutants including dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) induces insulin resistance. But the mechanism is not clearly known. The present study was designed to explore the effect of subtoxic DDT exposure on (1) insulin-stimulated glucose uptake, (2) malondialdehyde (MDA) level and total antioxidant content, (3) activation of redox sensitive kinases (RSKs), and (4) insulin signaling in rat L6 myoblast-derived myotubes. Exposure to 30 mg/L and 60 mg/L of DDT for 18 hours dose dependently decreased glucose uptake and antioxidant content in myotubes and increased MDA levels. The exposures did not alter tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) level as determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, despite decreased messenger RNA expression following DDT exposures. Phosphorylation of c-Jun N-terminal kinases and IκBα, an inhibitory component of nuclear factor κB (NFκB), was increased, suggesting activation of RSKs. The level of tyrosine phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate 1 and serine phosphorylation of protein kinase B (Akt) on insulin stimulation decreased in myotubes with exposure to subtoxic concentrations of DDT, but there was no change in tyrosine phosphorylation level of insulin receptors. We conclude that subtoxic DDT exposure impairs insulin signaling and thereby induces insulin resistance in muscle cells. Data show that oxidative stress-induced activation of RSKs is responsible for impairment of insulin signaling on DDT exposure.

Keywords: DDT; POPs; glucose uptake; insulin resistance; oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • DDT / toxicity*
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Insecticides / toxicity*
  • Insulin / metabolism*
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / drug effects*
  • Muscle Fibers, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Myoblasts
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / genetics
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Insecticides
  • Insulin
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • DDT
  • Glucose