Perinatal exposure to perfluorooctane sulfonate affects glucose metabolism in adult offspring

PLoS One. 2014 Jan 31;9(1):e87137. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0087137. eCollection 2014.


Perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) are globally present in the environment and are widely distributed in human populations and wildlife. The chemicals are ubiquitous in human body fluids and have a long serum elimination half-life. The notorious member of PFAAs, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) is prioritized as a global concerning chemical at the Stockholm Convention in 2009, due to its harmful effects in mammals and aquatic organisms. PFOS is known to affect lipid metabolism in adults and was found to be able to cross human placenta. However the effects of in utero exposure to the susceptibility of metabolic disorders in offspring have not yet been elucidated. In this study, pregnant CD-1 mice (F0) were fed with 0, 0.3 or 3 mg PFOS/kg body weight/day in corn oil by oral gavage daily throughout gestational and lactation periods. We investigated the immediate effects of perinatal exposure to PFOS on glucose metabolism in both maternal and offspring after weaning (PND 21). To determine if the perinatal exposure predisposes the risk for metabolic disorder to the offspring, weaned animals without further PFOS exposure, were fed with either standard or high-fat diet until PND 63. Fasting glucose and insulin levels were measured while HOMA-IR index and glucose AUCs were reported. Our data illustrated the first time the effects of the environmental equivalent dose of PFOS exposure on the disturbance of glucose metabolism in F1 pups and F1 adults at PND 21 and 63, respectively. Although the biological effects of PFOS on the elevated levels of fasting serum glucose and insulin levels were observed in both pups and adults of F1, the phenotypes of insulin resistance and glucose intolerance were only evident in the F1 adults. The effects were exacerbated under HFD, highlighting the synergistic action at postnatal growth on the development of metabolic disorders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkanesulfonic Acids / blood
  • Alkanesulfonic Acids / metabolism
  • Alkanesulfonic Acids / toxicity*
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System / genetics
  • Cytochrome P450 Family 4
  • Diet, High-Fat
  • Fasting / blood
  • Female
  • Fluorocarbons / blood
  • Fluorocarbons / metabolism
  • Fluorocarbons / toxicity*
  • Gene Expression / drug effects
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Lipoprotein Lipase / genetics
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Maternal Exposure / adverse effects*
  • Mice
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects / chemically induced*
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Time Factors
  • Weaning


  • Alkanesulfonic Acids
  • Blood Glucose
  • Cyp4a14 protein, mouse
  • Fluorocarbons
  • Insulin
  • Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System
  • perfluorooctane sulfonic acid
  • Cytochrome P450 Family 4
  • Lipoprotein Lipase
  • Glucose

Grant support

This work is supported by the General Research Fund (HKBU 261812), University Grants Committee (CKC Wong). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.