Chronic DDE Exposure Modifies Mitochondrial Respiration during Differentiation of Human Adipose-Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells into Mature Adipocytes

Biomolecules. 2021 Jul 21;11(8):1068. doi: 10.3390/biom11081068.


The contribution of environmental pollutants to the obesity pandemic is still not yet fully recognized. Elucidating possible cellular and molecular mechanisms of their effects is of high importance. Our study aimed to evaluate the effect of chronic, 21-day-long, 2,2-bis (4-chlorophenyl)-1,1-dichlorethylenedichlorodiphenyldichloroethylene (p,p'-DDE) exposure of human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells committed to adipogenesis on mitochondrial oxygen consumption on days 4, 10, and 21. In addition, the mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), the quality of the mitochondrial network, and lipid accumulation in maturing cells were evaluated. Compared to control differentiating adipocytes, exposure to p,p'-DDE at 1 μM concentration significantly increased basal (routine) mitochondrial respiration, ATP-linked oxygen consumption and MMP of intact cells on day 21 of adipogenesis. In contrast, higher pollutant concentration seemed to slow down the gradual increase in ATP-linked oxygen consumption typical for normal adipogenesis. Organochlorine p,p'-DDE did not alter citrate synthase activity. In conclusion, in vitro 1 μM p,p'-DDE corresponding to human exposure is able to increase the mitochondrial respiration per individual mitochondrion at the end of adipocyte maturation. Our data reveal that long-lasting exposure to p,p'-DDE could interfere with the metabolic programming of mature adipocytes.

Keywords: adipogenesis; human adipose-derived mesenchymal stem cells; mitochondrial respiration; p,p′-DDE.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / cytology
  • Adipocytes / drug effects*
  • Adipogenesis / drug effects*
  • Cell Differentiation / drug effects
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene / toxicity*
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Membrane Potential, Mitochondrial
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / cytology
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cells / drug effects*
  • Mitochondria / drug effects*
  • Obesity / metabolism


  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Dichlorodiphenyl Dichloroethylene