Organic anion transporting polypeptide 3a1 is a novel influx pump for Perfluorooctane sulfonate in Sertoli cells and contributes to its reproductive toxicity

Chemosphere. 2023 Dec:345:140428. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2023.140428. Epub 2023 Oct 17.


Persistent organic pollutant perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) is strongly associated with male reproductive disorders, but the related mechanisms are still not fully understood. In this study, we used in vivo and in vitro models to explore the role of organic anion transporting polypeptide 3a1 (Oatp3a1) on PFOS-induced male reproductive injury. Thirty male C57BL/6 (B6) mice were orally given PFOS (0-10 mg/kg/bw) for 28 days. Body weight, organ index, sperm count, histology, and blood-testis barrier (BTB) integrity were evaluated. Primary Sertoli cells were used to describe the related molecular mechanisms of male reproductive injury caused by PFOS. Our results showed that PFOS induced a decrease in sperm count, morphological damage to testicular Sertoli cells, and disruption of BTB. In the in vitro model, exposure to PFOS significantly increased Oatp3a1 mRNA and protein levels and decreased miR-23a-3p expression in Sertoli cells, accompanied by reduced trans-epithelial electrical resistance (TEER) value. By performing the 14C-PFOS uptake experiment, we showed that 14C-PFOS uptake in HEK293-Oatp3a1 cells was apparently higher than in HEK293-MOCK cells. Meanwhile, treating Sertoli cells with Oatp3a1 siRNA significantly decreased Oatp3a1 expression and rescued PFOS-induced decreases in TEER value. As such, the present study highlights that Oatp3a1 may play an important role in the toxic effect of PFOS on Sertoli cells, advancing our understanding of molecular mechanisms for PFOS-induced male reproductive disorders.

Keywords: Male reproductive toxicity; Organic anion transporting polypeptides; Perfluorooctane sulfonate; Sertoli cell; microRNA-23a-3p.

MeSH terms

  • Alkanesulfonic Acids* / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Fluorocarbons* / metabolism
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Organic Anion Transporters* / genetics
  • Organic Anion Transporters* / metabolism
  • Organic Anion Transporters* / pharmacology
  • Semen
  • Sertoli Cells


  • perfluorooctane
  • perfluorooctane sulfonic acid
  • Alkanesulfonic Acids
  • Fluorocarbons
  • Organic Anion Transporters