Adipogenic Effects Of The Environmental Obesogen Bisphenol-A
Mentor:Bruce Blumberg, Professor of Developmental And Cell Biology, University Of California, Irvine
As obesity and its related disorders burgeon into a worldwide epidemic, so has the need to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying the trend towards obesity. Differences in the extent of fat accumulation amongst individuals in spite of similar lifestyles suggest that chemicals in the environment, in addition to more traditional lifestyle factors such as excess calorie intake and sedentary lifestyle, might be a risk factor for obesity. The experiments in the Blumberg Lab at UCI study the effects of a subset of Endocrine-Disruptor Chemicals, termed “obesogens,” that lead to obesity by interfering with our metabolic programs. In our experiments, human and rat mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) were cultured in vitro and treated with varying concentrations of Bisphenol-A, a suspected obesogen found in plastic bottles and the inner lining of food containers, to study its adipogenic effects. Rosiglitazone, an anti-diabetic drug known to induce adipogenesis, was used as a positive control. The cells were subsequently stained with the fluorescent dyes Nile Red and Hoescht-33342 to assess lipid accumulation, as well as Oil Red O for visualization via light microscopy. The preliminary results using αMEM media for human MSCs and low-glucose DMEM media for rat MSCs indicate that Bisphenol-A does not contribute to adipogenesis in vitro, in contrast to in vivo treatments, where the chemical has already been found to induce adipogenesis. Further experiments, such as in utero treatments of rats with Bisphenol-A, will be performed to increase our understanding of the adipogenic effects of the suspected obesogen. Understanding the role of these environmental obesogens would benefit in identifying a previously overlooked risk factor in obesity and effective ways to prevent the frightening advances of obesity and related disorders.