Superfund Research Program
Exposomics of Endocrine Disruption
- Project Summary
The global prevalence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) has doubled since 1980. Human epidemiological studies support arsenic exposure as a risk factor for T2D, although the precise mechanism is unclear. This project surveyed the literature and published a state-of-the science review in Environmental Health Perspectives(Castriota et al. 2020, PMID:31898917 DOI:10.1289/EHP4517, Epub Jan 3, PMC In Progress), which identified the current knowledge gaps in the understanding of arsenite on diabetes development. From this review, the researchers hypothesized that chronic arsenic ingestion may alter glucose homeostasis by impairing adaptive thermogenesis, i.e., body heat production in cold environments. The researchers found that male C57BL/6J mice exposed to sodium arsenite in drinking water experienced significantly decreased metabolic heat production when acclimated to chronic cold tolerance testing despite no change in physical activity. The researchers went on to show that chronic arsenic exposure impacts the mitochondria of thermogenic tissues involved in energy expenditure and glucose regulation, providing a novel mechanism by which arsenic exposure may contribute to T2D development.