DOI: 10.3390/toxics11120963 ISSN: 2305-6304

Hepatic Transcriptome Comparative In Silico Analysis Reveals Similar Pathways and Targets Altered by Legacy and Alternative Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances in Mice

Dakota R. Robarts, Jiayin Dai, Christopher Lau, Udayan Apte, J. Christopher Corton
  • Chemical Health and Safety
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
  • Toxicology

Per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a large class of fluorinated carbon chains that include legacy PFAS, such as perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), and perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS). These compounds induce adverse health effects, including hepatotoxicity. Potential alternatives to the legacy PFAS (HFPO-DA (GenX), HFPO4, HFPO-TA, F-53B, 6:2 FTSA, and 6:2 FTCA), as well as a byproduct of PFAS manufacturing (Nafion BP2), are increasingly being found in the environment. The potential hazards of these new alternatives are less well known. To better understand the diversity of molecular targets of the PFAS, we performed a comparative toxicogenomics analysis of the gene expression changes in the livers of mice exposed to these PFAS, and compared these to five activators of PPARα, a common target of many PFAS. Using hierarchical clustering, pathway analysis, and predictive biomarkers, we found that most of the alternative PFAS modulate molecular targets that overlap with legacy PFAS. Only three of the 11 PFAS tested did not appreciably activate PPARα (Nafion BP2, 6:2 FTSA, and 6:2 FTCA). Predictive biomarkers showed that most PFAS (PFHxS, PFOA, PFOS, PFNA, HFPO-TA, F-53B, HFPO4, Nafion BP2) activated CAR. PFNA, PFHxS, PFOA, PFOS, HFPO4, HFPO-TA, F-53B, Nafion BP2, and 6:2 FTSA suppressed STAT5b, activated NRF2, and activated SREBP. There was no apparent relationship between the length of the carbon chain, type of head group, or number of ether linkages and the transcriptomic changes. This work highlights the similarities in molecular targets between the legacy and alternative PFAS.

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