Superfund Research Program
The Impact of Obesity on PCB Toxicity
Project Summary (2005-2008)
Obesity is at epidemic proportions in the
Dr. Cassis' team believes that the effect of PCBs to regulate adipocyte differentiation and the adipocyte renin-angiotensin system is influenced by obesity and weight loss, culminating in adverse consequences of PCBs on adipocyte function and blood pressure control. The effect of PCBs differing in lipophilicity, structure, and receptor affinities on adipose differentiation and the adipocyte renin-angiotensin system is being examined. These studies are investigating if sequestration of PCBs in the lipid pools of adipocytes impacts their ability to interact with receptor targets and influence adipocyte function.
A rat model of diet-induced obesity is being used to determine the in vitro and in vivo effect of PCB exposure on the development of obesity and hypertension. Hypertrophied adipocytes from obese rats are anticipated to sequester large amounts of PCBs, potentially impacting the development of obesity and the subsequent hypertension that develops in obese rats. Project investigators are also determining the effect of prior PCB exposure on adipocyte differentiation, the adipocyte renin-angiotensin system, and blood pressure during weight loss in a rat model of diet-induced obesity and hypertension. Release of PCBs from the large lipid pools of obese rats with weight loss is anticipated to increase PCB toxicity. Results from these studies will increase understanding of adipose PCB accumulation and disease.