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Open Access PPAR Disruption: Cellular Mechanisms and Physiological Consequences

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Endocrine disruption is defined as the perturbation of the endocrine system, which includes disruption of nuclear hormone receptor signalling. Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) represent a family of nuclear receptors that has not yet been carefully studied with regards to endocrine disruption, despite the fact that PPARs are known to be important targets for xenobiotics. Here we report a first comprehensive approach aimed at defining the mechanistic basis of PPAR disruption focusing on one chemical, the plasticizer monethylhexyl phthalate (MEHP), but using a variety of methodologies and models. We used mammalian cells and a combination of biochemical and live cell imaging techniques to show that MEHP binds to PPARγ and selectively regulates interactions with coregulators. Micro-array experiments further showed that this selectivity is translated at the physiological level during adipocyte differentiation. In that context, MEHP functions as a selective PPAR modulator regulating only a subset of PPARγ target genes compared to the action of a full agonist. We also explored the action of MEHP on PPARs in an aquatic species, Xenopus laevis, as many xenobiotics are found in aquatic ecosystems. In adult males, micro-array data indicated that MEHP influences liver physiology, possibly through a cross-talk between PPARs and estrogen receptors (ER). In early Xenopus laevis embryos, we showed that PPARβ/δ exogenous activation by an agonist or by MEHP affects development. Taken together our results widen the concept of endocrine disruption by pinpointing PPARs as key factors in that process.

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Keywords: ADIPOGENESIS; EMBRYONIC DEVELOPMENT; ENDOCRINE DISRUPTION; PHTHALATES; PPAR

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2008

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  • International Journal for Chemistry and Official Membership Journal of the Swiss Chemical Society (SCS) and its Divisions

    CHIMIA, a scientific journal for chemistry in the broadest sense, is published 10 times a year and covers the interests of a wide and diverse readership. Contributions from all fields of chemistry and related areas are considered for publication in the form of Review Articles and Notes. A characteristic feature of CHIMIA are the thematic issues, each devoted to an area of great current significance.

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