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Toxicol Sci. 2008 May;103(1):46-56. doi: 10.1093/toxsci/kfn025. Epub 2008 Feb 14.

Toxicogenomic dissection of the perfluorooctanoic acid transcript profile in mouse liver: evidence for the involvement of nuclear receptors PPAR alpha and CAR.

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  • 1NHEERL/ORD, U.S. EPA, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina 27711, USA.


A number of perfluorinated alkyl acids including perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) elicit effects similar to peroxisome proliferator chemicals (PPC) in mouse and rat liver. There is strong evidence that PPC cause many of their effects linked to liver cancer through the nuclear receptor peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPAR alpha). To determine the role of PPAR alpha in mediating PFOA transcriptional events, we compared the transcript profiles of the livers of wild-type or PPAR alpha-null mice exposed to PFOA or the PPAR alpha agonist WY-14,643 (WY). After 7 days of exposure, 85% or 99.7% of the genes altered by PFOA or WY exposure, respectively were dependent on PPAR alpha. The PPAR alpha-independent genes regulated by PFOA included those involved in lipid homeostasis and xenobiotic metabolism. Many of the lipid homeostasis genes including acyl-CoA oxidase (Acox1) were also regulated by WY in a PPAR alpha-dependent manner. The increased expression of these genes in PPAR alpha-null mice may be partly due to increases in PPAR gamma expression upon PFOA exposure. Many of the identified xenobiotic metabolism genes are known to be under control of the nuclear receptor CAR (constitutive activated/androstane receptor) and the transcription factor Nrf2 (nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2). There was excellent correlation between the transcript profile of PPAR alpha-independent PFOA genes and those of activators of CAR including phenobarbital and 1,4-bis[2-(3,5-dichloropyridyloxy)] benzene (TCPOBOP) but not those regulated by the Nrf2 activator, dithiol-3-thione. These results indicate that PFOA alters most genes in wild-type mouse liver through PPAR alpha, but that a subset of genes are regulated by CAR and possibly PPAR gamma in the PPAR alpha-null mouse.

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