Polybrominated diphenyl ethers and gut microbiome modulate metabolic syndrome-related aqueous metabolites in mice

David K. Scoville, Cindy Yanfei Li, Dongfang Wang, Joseph L. Dempsey, Daniel Raftery, Sridhar Mani, Haiwei Gu, Julia Yue Cui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are persistent environmental toxicants associated with increased risk for metabolic syndrome. Intermediary metabolism is influenced by the intestinal microbiome. To test the hypothesis that PBDEs reduce hostbeneficial intermediary metabolites in an intestinal microbiome- dependent manner, 9-week old male conventional (CV) and germfree (GF) C57BL/6 mice were orally gavaged once daily with vehicle, BDE-47, or BDE-99 (100 mmol/kg) for 4 days. Intestinal microbiome (16S rDNA sequencing), liver transcriptome (RNA-Seq), and intermediary metabolites in serum, liver, as well as small and large intestinal contents (SIC and LIC; LC-MS) were examined. Changes in intermediary metabolite abundances in serum, liver, and SIC, were observed under basal conditions (CV vs. GF mice) and by PBDE exposure. PBDEs altered the largest number of metabolites in the LIC; most were regulated by PBDEs in GF conditions. Importantly, intestinal microbiome was necessary for PBDE-mediated decreases in branched-chain and aromatic amino acid metabolites, including 3-indolepropionic acid, a tryptophan metabolite recently shown to be protective against inflammation and diabetes. Gene-metabolite networks revealed a positive association between the hepatic glycan synthesis gene a-1,6-mannosyltransferase (Alg12) mRNA and mannose, which are important for protein glycosylation. Glycome changes have been observed in patients with metabolic syndrome. In LIC of CV mice, 23 bacterial taxa were regulated by PBDEs. Correlations of certain taxa with distinct serum metabolites further highlight a modulatory role of the microbiome in mediating PBDE effects. In summary, PBDEs impact intermediary metabolism in an intestinal microbiome-dependent manner, suggesting that dysbiosis may contribute to PBDE-mediated toxicities that include metabolic syndrome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)928-940
Number of pages13
JournalDrug Metabolism and Disposition
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmaceutical Science


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