Short Communication: Long-term intake of the illegal diet pill DNP reduces lifespan in a captive bird model

Antoine Stier* (Corresponding Author), Pierre Bize, Sylvie Massemin, François Criscuolo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


2,4-Dinitrophenol (DNP), a molecule uncoupling mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation from oxygen consumption, is illegally used by humans as a diet pill, but is nonetheless investigated as a potential human medicine against ‘metabesity’. Due to its proven acute toxicity and the scarceness of long-term studies on DNP administration in vertebrates, we determined the impact of a long-term DNP treatment ( 31 ,i.e. within the range taken illegally by humans) on body mass,metabolism,ageing and lifespan in a captive bird model, the zebra finch. The chronic absorption of DNP over life (>4 years) led to a mild increase in energy expenditure (ca. +11% compared to control group), without significantly altering the normal slight increase in body mass with age. DNP did not significantly influence the alteration of physical performance, the rise in oxidative damage, or the progressive shortening of telomeres with age. However, DNP-treated individuals had a significantly shorter lifespan (ca. -21%in median life span compared to control group), thereby raising potential concerns about DNP use as a diet pill or medicine.
Original languageEnglish
Article number108944
Number of pages4
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology. Part C, Comparative
Early online date3 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Acknowledgements The authors wish to thank A. Hranitzky for support in bird mainte-nance, numerous students for their help in data collection, and N. Metcalfe, S. Dobson as well as S. Reichert for helpful comments on a previous draft.
AS was funded by a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Postdoctoral Fellowship (#658085) and a TCSM fellowship at the time of analyzing the results and writing the manuscript


  • 2,4-dinitrophenol
  • toxicity
  • mitochondrial uncoupling
  • Oxidative Stress
  • survival
  • Longevity


Dive into the research topics of 'Short Communication: Long-term intake of the illegal diet pill DNP reduces lifespan in a captive bird model'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this