Early life perfluorooctanesulphonic acid (PFOS) exposure impairs zebrafish organogenesis

Aquat Toxicol. 2014 May:150:124-32. doi: 10.1016/j.aquatox.2014.03.005. Epub 2014 Mar 12.


As a persistent organic contaminant, perfluorooctanesulphonic acid (PFOS) has been widely detected in the environment, wildlife, and humans. The present study revealed that zebrafish embryos exposed to 16 μM PFOS during a sensitive window of 48-96 hour post-fertilization (hpf) disrupted larval morphology at 120 hpf. Malformed zebrafish larvae were characterized by uninflated swim bladder, less developed gut, and curved spine. Histological and ultrastructural examination of PFOS-exposed larvae showed structural alterations in swim bladder and gut. Whole genome microarray was used to identify the early transcripts dysregulated following exposure to 16 μM PFOS at 96 hpf. In total, 1278 transcripts were significantly misexpressed (p<0.05) and 211 genes were changed at least two-fold upon PFOS exposure in comparison to the vehicle-exposed control group. A PFOS-induced network of perturbed transcripts relating to swim bladder and gut development revealed that misexpression of genes were involved in organogenesis. Taken together, early life stage exposure to PFOS perturbs various molecular pathways potentially resulting in observed defects in swim bladder and gut development.

Keywords: Developmental toxicity; Gut; Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid; Swim bladder; Zebrafish embryo.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Air Sacs / embryology
  • Alkanesulfonic Acids / toxicity*
  • Animals
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Fluorocarbons / toxicity*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / drug effects
  • Intestines / embryology
  • Organogenesis / drug effects*
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / toxicity*
  • Zebrafish* / embryology
  • Zebrafish* / genetics


  • Alkanesulfonic Acids
  • Fluorocarbons
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • perfluorooctane sulfonic acid