Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 17, pp 17050–17057 | Cite as

Exposure to 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid induced PPARβ-dependent disruption of glucose metabolism in HepG2 cells

  • Haidong Sun
  • Wentao Shao
  • Hui Liu
  • Zhaoyan Jiang
Research Article


2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid is one of the most widely used herbicides. Its impact on health is increasingly attracting great attentions. This study aimed to investigate the effect of 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid on glucose metabolism in HepG2 cells and the underlying mechanism. After 24 h exposure to 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid, glycogen was measured by PAS staining and glucose by ELISA in HepG2 cells. The expression of genes involved in glucose metabolism was measured by real-time PCR, Western blotting, and immunofluorescence. HepG2 cells presented more extracellular glucose consumption and glycogen content after exposed to 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid. Expression of gluconeogenesis-related genes, FoxO1, and CREB is significantly elevated. Moreover, PPARβ was up-regulated dose-dependently. SiRNA knockdown of PPARβ completely rescued the increase of glycogen accumulation and glucose uptake, and the up-regulation of FOXO1 and CREB expression. Our findings propose novel mechanisms that 2,4-dichlorophenoxyacetic acid causes glucose metabolism dysfunction through PPARβ in HepG2 cells.


2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid PPARβ Herbicides Glucose metabolism Hepatocyte 



This work was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 81570574).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Surgery, Shanghai Institute of Digestive Surgery, Ruijin HospitalShanghai Jiaotong University School of MedicineShanghaiChina
  2. 2.State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine, Institute of ToxicologyNanjing Medical UniversityNanjingChina

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