Dietary Perfluorohexanoic Acid (PFHxA) Exposures in Juvenile Zebrafish Produce Subtle Behavioral Effects across Generations

Toxics. 2022 Jul 4;10(7):372. doi: 10.3390/toxics10070372.


Ubiquitous anthropogenic contaminants of concern, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are frequently detected in the environment and human populations around the world. Diet is a predominate route of human exposure, and PFAS are frequently measured in food. Manufacturing trends have shifted from legacy PFAS to shorter-chain alternatives that are suggested to be safer, such as perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA). However, the current amount of data to support safety assessments of these alternatives is not yet sufficient. The present study investigated the effects of a 42-day dietary exposure to 1, 10, or 100 ng/g PFHxA in juvenile zebrafish. The zebrafish model was leveraged to interrogate morphometrics, fecundity, and numerous behavior endpoints across multiple generations. Dietary PFHxA exposure did not result in measurable body burden and did not affect growth, fecundity, adult social perception behavior, or associative learning. PFHxA exposure did induce abnormal adult anxiety behaviors in the F0 generation that persisted transgenerationally in the F1 and F2. Abnormal larval and juvenile behavior was observed in the F1 generation, but not in the F2. PFHxA juvenile dietary exposure induced subtle and multigenerational behavior effects that warrant further investigation of this and other alternative short-chain PFAS.

Keywords: PFAS; fecundity; multigenerational; short-chain; toxicity.