Metabolomic-based assessment reveals dysregulation of lipid profiles in human liver cells exposed to environmental obesogens.Toxicol Appl Pharmacol. 2020 07 01; 398:115009.TA
Significant attention has been given to the potential of environmental chemicals to disrupt lipid homeostasis at the cellular level. These chemicals, classified as obesogens, are abundantly used in a wide variety of consumer products. However, there is a significant lack of information regarding the mechanisms by which environmental exposure can contribute to the onset of obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Several studies have described the interaction of potential obesogens with lipid-related peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPAR). However, no studies have quantified the degree of modification to lipidomic profiles in relevant human models, making it difficult to directly link PPAR agonists to the onset of lipid-related diseases. A quantitative metabolomic approach was used to examine the dysregulation of lipid metabolism in human liver cells upon exposure to potential obesogenic compounds. The chemicals rosiglitazone, perfluorooctanoic acid, di-2-ethylexylphthalate, and tributyltin significantly increased total lipids in liver cells, being diglycerides, triglycerides and phosphatidylcholines the most prominent. Contrarily, perfluorooctane sulfonic acid and the pharmaceutical fenofibrate appeared to lower total lipid concentrations, especially those belonging to the acylcarnitine, ceramide, triglyceride, and phosphatidylcholine groups. Fluorescence microscopy analysis for cellular neutral lipids revealed significant lipid bioaccumulation upon exposure to obesogens at environmentally relevant concentrations. This integrated omics analysis provides unique mechanistic insight into the potential of these environmental pollutants to promote diseases like obesity and NAFLD. Furthermore, this study provides a significant contribution to advance the understanding of molecular signatures related to obesogenic chemicals and to the development of alternatives to in vivo experimentation.