Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) is a persistent environmental contaminant found in the tissues of humans and wildlife. It has been reported that gestational exposure to PFOS causes neonatal death of rats. However, the mechanism is still unclear. In this study, we investigated the effects of gestational PFOS exposure on the gene expression profiling of fetal rat lung at pseudoglandular stage. Adult Sprague Dawley dams were dosed orally from gestational day 12-18 with 0 (control), 5 mg/kg/day or 20 mg/kg/day PFOS. Animals were euthanized on day 18.5, fetal lung samples were collected for histochemical staining and RNA profiling analysis. PFOS did not cause apparent microscopic changes of fetal lungs. Gene expression profiling revealed that PFOS dose-dependently up-regulated the expression of 21 (5 mg/kg) and 43 (20 mg/kg) genes. These genes include five PPARα target genes (Acot1, Hmgcs2, Fabp4, Fabp1 and Myh7), and 4 of them are involved in lipid metabolism. The other genes were primarily included in the categories of cytoskeletal structure (Tpm1, Tnnt2, Actn3, Myoz2, Tmod1, and Mfap5), extracellular matrix (Ckm, Lum, Tnnc1, Art3, Dcn, Col17a1, Aspn, Ctsk, Itm2a, Spock2 and Orm1), transporting (Cox8h, Cox6a2 and Scnn1a) and secreted proteins (Scgb3a1, Nppb and Spp1). Our study demonstrates that in utero PFOS exposure resulted in the alteration of a set of genes which are involved in significant cytoskeletal, extracellular matrix remodeling, lipid metabolism and secreted proteins in the fetal rat lung.
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