Effect of acute exposure to PFOA on mouse liver cells in vivo and in vitro

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2017 Nov;24(31):24201-24206. doi: 10.1007/s11356-017-0072-5. Epub 2017 Sep 8.


Increasingly, epidemiological evidences indicate chemosynthetic perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), an environmental pollutant, induces potential adverse effect on human health after long-term exposure. However, less study has been performed for assessment of acute effect of PFOA exposure on metabolic homeostasis. In experimental designs, PFOA-exposed liver cells in vivo and in vitro were used to discuss underlying mechanism related to PFOA-induced metabolic dysfunction. In serological tests, PFOA-exposed mice showed increased treads of liver functional enzymes in alanine transaminase (ALT), aspartate transaminase (AST), and total bilirubin (T-BIL), trypsinase, low density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), and insulin, while blood glucose, high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C), and glucagon levels were reduced. In histocytological observations, PFOA-exposed liver showed visible cytoplasmic vesicles, and intact pancreatic islets were observed in PFOA-exposed pancreas. Additionally, increased insulin-positive cells and reduced glucagon-positive cells were detected in PFOA-exposed islets. As shown in immunoassays, PFOA-exposed liver resulted in elevations of cluster of differentiation 36 (CD36)-labeled cells and CD36 protein. In mouse liver cell study, PFOA-exposed cells showed increased cell apoptotic count, and increased phosphorylated levels of Bcl-2 and Bad in the cells. Furthermore, PFOA-exposed liver cells exhibited elevations of CD36-labeled cells and CD36 protein. Taken together, the present data demonstrate that acute exposure to PFOA-impaired liver function is associated with inducting CD36 expression and apoptosis, as well as disrupting key hormones in the pancreas.

Keywords: Lipids; Liver; Pancreas; Perfluorooctanoic acid.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Caprylates / toxicity*
  • Environmental Pollutants / toxicity*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Enzymes / blood
  • Fluorocarbons / toxicity*
  • Hepatocytes / drug effects*
  • Hepatocytes / enzymology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Serologic Tests


  • Caprylates
  • Environmental Pollutants
  • Enzymes
  • Fluorocarbons
  • perfluorooctanoic acid