Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) induces reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in human microvascular endothelial cells: role in endothelial permeability

J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2010;73(12):819-36. doi: 10.1080/15287391003689317.


Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) is a member of the perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAA) containing an eight-carbon backbone. PFOS is a man-made chemical with carbon-fluorine bonds that are among the strongest in organic chemistry, and PFOS is widely used in industry. Human occupational and environmental exposure to PFOS occurs globally. PFOS is non-biodegradable and is persistent in the human body and environment. In this study, data demonstrated that exposure of human microvascular endothelial cells (HMVEC) to PFOS induced the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) at both high and low concentrations. Morphologically, it was found that exposure to PFOS induced actin filament remodeling and endothelial permeability changes in HMVEC. Furthermore, data demonstrated that the production of ROS plays a regulatory role in PFOS-induced actin filament remodeling and the increase in endothelial permeability. Our results indicate that the generation of ROS may play a role in PFOS-induced aberrations of the endothelial permeability barrier. The results generated from this study may provide a new insight into the potential adverse effects of PFOS exposure on humans at the cellular level.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Actin Cytoskeleton / drug effects
  • Actin Cytoskeleton / metabolism
  • Alkanesulfonic Acids / toxicity*
  • Animals
  • Capillary Permeability / drug effects*
  • Capillary Permeability / physiology
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Membrane Permeability / drug effects*
  • Cell Membrane Permeability / physiology
  • Electric Impedance
  • Electron Spin Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects*
  • Endothelium, Vascular / pathology
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiology
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Fluorocarbons / toxicity*
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Microvessels / drug effects*
  • Microvessels / physiology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Regeneration / drug effects
  • Regeneration / physiology


  • Alkanesulfonic Acids
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Fluorocarbons
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • perfluorooctane sulfonic acid