Recent studies suggest that exposure to endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) may play a role in the development of obesity. EDCs such as the flame retardant 2,2',4,4'-tetrabrominated diphenyl ether (BDE-47) have been shown to enhance adipocyte differentiation in the murine 3T3-L1 model. The mechanisms by which EDCs direct preadipocytes to form adipocytes are poorly understood. Here, we examined transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms underlying the induction of in vitro adipocyte differentiation by BDE-47. Quantitative high content microscopy revealed concentration-dependent enhanced adipocyte differentiation following exposure to BDE-47 or the antidiabetic drug troglitazone (TROG). BDE-47 modestly activated the key adipogenic transcription factor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma (PPARγ) in COS7 cells, transiently transfected with a GAL4 reporter construct. Increased gene expression was observed for Pparγ2, leptin (Lep), and glucose-6-phophatase catalytic subunit (G6pc) in differentiated 3T3-L1 cells after BDE-47 exposure compared to TROG. Methylation-sensitive high resolution melting (MS-HRM) revealed significant demethylation of three CpG sites in the Pparγ2 promoter after exposure to both BDE-47 and TROG in differentiated 3T3-L1 cells. This study shows the potential of BDE-47 to induce adipocyte differentiation through various mechanisms that include Pparγ2 gene induction and promoter demethylation accompanied by activation of PPARγ, and possible disruption of glucose homeostasis and IGF1 signaling.
Environmental Science and Technology (washington), 2014, Vol 48, Issue 7, p. 4110-9