Persistent organic pollutants (POPs) have been linked to metabolic diseases. Yet, the effects of high exposure to dietary POPs remain unclear. We therefore investigated whether elevated exposure to POPs provided by whale meat supplementation could contribute to insulin resistance. C57BL/6J mice were fed control (C) or very high-fat diet (VHF) containing low or high levels of POPs (VHF+POPs) for eight weeks. To elevate the dietary concentrations of POPs, casein was replaced by whale meat containing high levels of pollutants. Feeding VHF+POPs induced high POP accumulation in the adipose tissue of mice. However, compared with VHF-fed mice, animals fed VHF+POPs had improved insulin sensitivity and glucose tolerance, and reduced body weight. Levels of ectopic fat in skeletal muscles and liver were reduced in mice fed VHF+POPs. These mice also gained less adipose tissue and had a tendency to reduced energy intake. In pair-feeding experiments, improved insulin action and reduced body weight gain were still observed in VHF+POPs compared to VHF pair-fed mice. We concluded that mice fed VHF contaminated with POPs derived from whale meat remain sensitive to insulin and glucose tolerant despite significant body burden of POPs. This indicates complex interactions between organic pollutants and nutrition in the development of metabolic disorders.
Toxicology Letters, 2012, Vol 215, Issue 1, p. 8-15