Effects of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) exposure to pregnant mice on reproduction

J Toxicol Sci. 2010 Aug;35(4):527-33. doi: 10.2131/jts.35.527.


Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) has similar characteristics to perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in reproduction toxicity featured by neonatal death. We found that PFOS exposure to mice during pregnancy led to intracranial blood vessel dilatation of fetuses accompanied by severe lung collapse which caused neonatal mortality. Thus, we adopted the corresponding experimental design to PFOS in order to characterize the neonatal death by PFOA. Pregnant ICR mice were given 1, 5 and 10 mg/kg PFOA daily by gavage from gestational day (GD) 0 to 17 and 18 for prenatal and postnatal evaluations, respectively. Five to nine dams per group were sacrificed on GD 18 for prenatal evaluation; other 10 dams were left to give birth. No maternal death was observed. The liver weight increased dose-dependently, with hepatocellular hypertrophy, necrosis, increased mitosis and mild calcification at 10 mg/kg. PFOA at 10 mg/kg increased serum enzyme activities (GGT, ALT, AST and ALP) with hypoproteinemia and hypolipidemia. PFOA treatment reduced the fetal body weight at 5 and 10 mg/kg. Teratological evaluation showed delayed ossification of the sternum and phalanges and delayed eruption of incisors at 10 mg/kg, but did not show intracranial blood vessel dilatation. Postnatal evaluation revealed that PFOA reduced the neonatal survival rate at 5 and 10 mg/kg. At 5 mg/kg pups were born alive and active and 16% died within 4 days observation, while all died within 6 hr after birth at 10 mg/kg without showing intracranial blood vessel dilatation. The cause of neonatal death by PFOA may be different from PFOS.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Caprylates / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Fetus / drug effects
  • Fluorocarbons / toxicity*
  • Gravidity / drug effects
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / chemically induced*
  • Reproduction / drug effects


  • Caprylates
  • Fluorocarbons
  • perfluorooctanoic acid