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PPAR Res. 2010;2010. pii: 794739. doi: 10.1155/2010/794739. Epub 2010 Sep 27.

Gene Expression Profiling in Wild-Type and PPARα-Null Mice Exposed to Perfluorooctane Sulfonate Reveals PPARα-Independent Effects.

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Integrated Systems Toxicology Division, Office of Research and Development, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, MD 72, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711, USA.


Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) is a perfluoroalkyl acid (PFAA) and a persistent environmental contaminant found in the tissues of humans and wildlife. Although blood levels of PFOS have begun to decline, health concerns remain because of the long half-life of PFOS in humans. Like other PFAAs, such as, perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), PFOS is an activator of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha (PPARα) and exhibits hepatocarcinogenic potential in rodents. PFOS is also a developmental toxicant in rodents where, unlike PFOA, its mode of action is independent of PPARα. Wild-type (WT) and PPARα-null (Null) mice were dosed with 0, 3, or 10 mg/kg/day PFOS for 7 days. Animals were euthanized, livers weighed, and liver samples collected for histology and preparation of total RNA. Gene profiling was conducted using Affymetrix 430_2 microarrays. In WT mice, PFOS induced changes that were characteristic of PPARα transactivation including regulation of genes associated with lipid metabolism, peroxisome biogenesis, proteasome activation, and inflammation. PPARα-independent changes were indicated in both WT and Null mice by altered expression of genes related to lipid metabolism, inflammation, and xenobiotic metabolism. Such results are similar to studies done with PFOA and are consistent with modest activation of the constitutive androstane receptor (CAR), and possibly PPARγ and/or PPARβ/δ. Unique treatment-related effects were also found in Null mice including altered expression of genes associated with ribosome biogenesis, oxidative phosphorylation, and cholesterol biosynthesis. Of interest was up-regulation of Cyp7a1, a gene which is under the control of various transcription regulators. Hence, in addition to its ability to modestly activate PPARα, PFOS induces a variety of PPARα-independent effects as well.

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