Biological responses to perfluorododecanoic acid exposure in rat kidneys as determined by integrated proteomic and metabonomic studies

PLoS One. 2011;6(6):e20862. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0020862. Epub 2011 Jun 3.


Background: Perfluorododecanoic acid (PFDoA) is a perfluorinated carboxylic chemical (PFC) that has broad applications and distribution in the environment. While many studies have focused on hepatotoxicity, immunotoxicity, and reproductive toxicity of PFCAs, few have investigated renal toxicity.

Methodology/principal findings: Here, we used comparative proteomic and metabonomic technologies to provide a global perspective on renal response to PFDoA. Male rats were exposed to 0, 0.05, 0.2, and 0.5 mg/kg/day of PFDoA for 110 days. After 2-D DIGE and MALDI TOF/TOF analysis, 79 differentially expressed proteins between the control and the PFDoA treated rats (0.2 and 0.5 mg-dosed groups) were successfully identified. These proteins were mainly involved in amino acid metabolism, the tricarboxylic acid cycle, gluconeogenesis, glycolysis, electron transport, and stress response. Nuclear magnetic resonance-based metabonomic analysis showed an increase in pyruvate, lactate, acetate, choline, and a variety of amino acids in the highest dose group. Furthermore, the profiles of free amino acids in the PFDoA treated groups were investigated quantitatively by high-coverage quantitative iTRAQ-LC MS/MS, which showed levels of sarcosine, asparagine, histidine, 1-methylhistidine, Ile, Leu, Val, Trp, Tyr, Phe, Cys, and Met increased markedly in the 0.5 mg dosed group, while homocitrulline, α-aminoadipic acid, β-alanine, and cystathionine decreased.

Conclusion/significance: These observations provide evidence that disorders in glucose and amino acid metabolism may contribute to PFDoA nephrotoxicity. Additionally, α(2u) globulin may play an important role in protecting the kidneys from PFDoA toxicity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acids / chemistry
  • Amino Acids / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional / methods
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Kidney / chemistry
  • Kidney / drug effects*
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Lauric Acids / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Metabolomics / methods*
  • Nuclear Magnetic Resonance, Biomolecular
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / methods


  • Amino Acids
  • Lauric Acids
  • perfluorododecanoic acid