A new study has revealed that exposure of pregnant mice to the pesticide DDT is linked to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol and related conditions in female offspring later in life.
According to a study by University of California, Davis, developmental exposure to DDT increases the risk of females later developing metabolic syndrome-a cluster of conditions that include increased body fat, blood glucose, and cholesterol.
Michele La Merrill, assistant professor of environmental toxicology at UC Davis, said that the women and men this study is most applicable to in the United States are currently at the age when they’re more likely to develop metabolic syndrome, because these are diseases of middle- to late adulthood.
The scientists found that exposure to DDT before birth slowed the metabolism of female mice and lowered their tolerance of cold temperature. This increased their likelihood of developing metabolic syndrome and its host of related conditions.
La Merrill added that as mammals, humans have to regulate their body temperature in order to live and their study has found that DDT reduced female mice’s ability to generate heat.
The study found stark gender differences in the mice’s response to DDT, as females were at higher risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cholesterol, while in males, DDT exposure did not affect obesity or cholesterol levels and caused only a minor increase in glucose levels.
The study was published online in the journal PLOS ONE. (ANI)