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Chemosphere. 2009 Feb;74(5):723-9. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2008.09.075. Epub 2008 Nov 8.

Chronic effects of water-borne PFOS exposure on growth, survival and hepatotoxicity in zebrafish: a partial life-cycle test.

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State Key Laboratory of Freshwater Ecology and Biotechnology, Institute of Hydrobiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Wuhan 430072, China.


Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) is widely distributed and persistent in the environment and wildlife. The main aim of this study was to investigate the impact of long-term exposure to low concentrations of PFOS in zebrafish. Zebrafish fry (F(0), 14 d post-fertilization, dpf) were exposed via the water for 70 d to 0 (control), 10, 50 and 250 microg L(-1) PFOS, followed by a further 30 d to assess recovery in clean water. The effects on survival and growth parameters and liver histopathology were assessed. Although growth suppression (weight and length) was observed in fish treated with high concentrations PFOS during the exposure period, no mortality was observed throughout the 70 d experiment. Embryos and larvae (F(1)) derived from maternal exposure suffered malformation and mortality. Exposure to 50 and 250 microg L(-1) PFOS could inhibit the growth of the gonads (GSI) in the female zebrafish. Histopathological alterations, primary with lipid droplets accumulation, were most prominently seen in the liver of males and the changes were not reversible, even after the fish were allowed to recover for 30 d in clean water. The triiodothyronine (T(3)) levels were not significantly changed in any of the exposure groups. Hepatic vitellogenin (VTG) gene expression was significantly up-regulated in both male and female zebrafish, but the sex ratio was not altered. The overall results suggested that lower concentrations of PFOS in maternal exposure could result in offspring deformation and mortality.

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