Accumulation of polychlorinated biphenyls in adipocytes: selective targeting to lipid droplets and role of caveolin-1.

Institut des Sciences de la Vie, UCLouvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.53). 01/2012; 7(2):e31834. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031834
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are persistent environmental pollutants that preferentially accumulate in lipid-rich tissues of contaminated organisms. Although the adipose tissue constitutes a major intern reservoir of PCBs and recent epidemiological studies associate PCBs to the development of obesity and its related disorders, little is known about the mechanisms involved in their uptake by the adipose tissue and their intracellular localization in fat cells.
We have examined the intracellular distribution of PCBs in mouse cultured adipocytes and tested the potential involvement of caveolin-1, an abundant adipocyte membrane protein, in the uptake of these compounds by fat cells. We show that 2,4,4'-trichlorobiphenyl (PCB-28), 2,3',4,4',5-pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB-118) and 2,2',4,4',5,5'-hexachlorobiphenyl (PCB-153) congeners rapidly and extensively accumulate in 3T3-L1 or mouse embryonic fibroblast (MEF) derived cultured adipocytes. The dynamics of accumulation differed between the 3 congeners tested. By subcellular fractionation of primary adipocytes, we demonstrate that these pollutants were almost exclusively recovered within the lipid droplet fraction and practically not associated to cell membranes. The absence of caveolin-1 expression in primary adipocytes from cav-1 deficient mice did not modify lipid droplet selective targeting of PCBs. In cav-1 KO MEF differentiated adipocytes, PCB accumulation was decreased, which correlated with reduced cell triglyceride content. Conversely, adenoviral mediated cav-1 overexpressing in 3T3-L1 cells, which had no impact on total cell lipid content, did not change PCB accumulation.
Our data indicate that caveolin-1 per se is not required for selective PCB accumulation, but rather point out a primary dependence on adipocyte triglyceride content. If the crucial role of lipid droplets in energy homeostasis is considered, the almost exclusive accumulation of PCBs in these organelles warrants future attention as the impairment of their function could be linked to the worldwide obesity epidemic.

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