Subacute and low dose of tributyltin exposure leads to brown adipose abnormalities in male rats

Eduardo Merlo, Jeanini Zimerman, Flávia C.F. Dos Santos, Jordana F. Zanol, Charles S. da Costa, Pedro H. Carneiro, Leandro Miranda-Alves, Genoa R. Warner, Jones B. Graceli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Tributyltin (TBT) is an obesogenic endocrine disrupting chemical (EDC) linked with several metabolic complications. Brown adipose tissue (BAT) is the principal site for thermogenesis, making it a potential target for obesity management and metabolic disease. However, few studies have evaluated TBT effect on BAT function. In this investigation, we assessed whether subacute (15 days) and low dose of TBT exposure (100 ng/kg/day) results in abnormal BAT morphophysiology in adult male rats. Body temperature, BAT morphology, inflammation, oxidative stress, collagen deposition and BAT metabolic gene expression markers were assessed in room temperature (Room, ∼24 ºC) and after cold tolerance test (Cold, ∼4 ºC) conditions. A reduction in body temperature was observed in both Room and Cold conditions in TBT rats, suggesting abnormal BAT thermogenic function. Changes in BAT morphology were observed in TBT rats, with an increase in BAT lipid accumulation, an increase in BAT unilocular adipocyte number and a decrease in BAT multilocular adipocyte number in Room condition. All these parameters were opposite in Cold condition TBT rats, leading to a borderline increase in BAT UCP1 protein expression. An increase in BAT mast cell number was observed in TBT rats in Room condition. An increase in ED1 protein expression (macrophage marker) was observed in TBT rats in Cold condition. Oxidative stress and collagen deposition increased in both Room and Cold conditions in TBT rats. TBT exposure caused a borderline increase in BAT COL1A1 protein expression in Cold condition. Further, strong negative correlations were observed between body temperature and BAT lipid accumulation, and BAT lipid accumulation and multilocular adipocyte number. Thus, these data suggest that TBT exposure impaired BAT morphophysiology through impacts on lipid accumulation, inflammation, fibrosis and oxidative stress in male rats.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)26-38
Number of pages13
JournalToxicology Letters
StatePublished - Mar 1 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology


  • Abnormal thermogenesis
  • Brown adipose tissue
  • Oxidative stress
  • Tributyltin
  • Whitening


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