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J Immunotoxicol. 2011 Jan-Mar;8(1):17-29. doi: 10.3109/1547691X.2010.527868. Epub 2011 Jan 24.

Effects of environmentally-relevant levels of perfluorooctane sulfonate on clinical parameters and immunological functions in B6C3F1 mice.

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  • 1National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Ocean Service, Center for Coastal Environmental Health & Biomolecular Research, Charleston, SC, USA.


In the first part of a series of studies to account for perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS)-induced sheep red blood cell (SRBC)-specific immunoglobulin M (IgM) antibody suppression in mice, a survey of clinical and immunotoxicological endpoints was examined. Adult female B₆C₃F₁ mice were exposed orally for 28 days to a total administered dose (TAD) of 0, 0.1, 0.5, 1, or 5 mg PFOS/kg. Uterus wet weight was significantly decreased compared with control at the 5 mg/kg dose. No indications of wasting syndrome, malnutrition, alteration of thyroid homeostasis, or signs of overt toxicity were observed. Numbers of splenic CD19+/CD21⁻, CD19+/CD21+, B220+/CD40+, CD4+/CD154⁻, CD4+/CD154+, and MHC-II+ cells were not altered. Additionally, ex vivo interleukin-4 (IL-4), IL-5, and IL-6 production by in vitro anti-CD3- or phorbol myristate acetate-stimulated CD4+ T-cells was not affected. Ex vivo IL-6 production by B-cells was significantly increased by in vitro stimulation with either anti-CD40 or lipopolysaccharide. Increased IL-6 production by B-cells was the most sensitive endpoint assessed resulting in alterations at the lowest dose tested (0.1 mg/kg TAD) following anti-CD40 stimulation. Further studies are required to characterize effects on inflammatory markers such as IL-6 at environmentally relevant concentrations of PFOS and to determine the key events associated with PFOS-induced IgM suppression to address potential human health risks.

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