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PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e54176. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0054176. Epub 2013 Jan 30.

Neurotoxicity of perfluorooctane sulfonate to hippocampal cells in adult mice.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, China Pharmaceutical University, Nanjing, China.


Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) is a ubiquitous pollutant and found in the environment and in biota. The neurotoxicity of PFOS has received much concern among its various toxic effects when given during developing period of brain. However, little is known about the neurotoxic effects and potential mechanisms of PFOS in the mature brain. Our study demonstrated the neurotoxicity and the potential mechanisms of PFOS in the hippocampus of adult mice for the first time. The impairments of spatial learning and memory were observed by water maze studies after exposure to PFOS for three months. Significant apoptosis was found in hippocampal cells after PFOS exposure, accompanied with a increase of glutamate in the hippocampus and decreases of dopamine (DA) and 3,4-dihydrophenylacetic acid (DOPAC) in Caudate Putamen in the 10.75 mg/kg PFOS group. By two-dimensional fluorescence difference in gel electrophoresis (2D-DIGE) analysis, seven related proteins in the hippocampus that responded to PFOS exposure were identified, among which, Mib1 protein (an E3 ubiquitin-protein ligase), Herc5 (hect domain and RLD 5 isoform 2) and Tyro3 (TYRO3 protein tyrosine kinase 3) were found down-regulated, while Sdha (Succinate dehydrogenase flavoprotein subunit), Gzma (Isoform HF1 of Granzyme A precursor), Plau (Urokinase-type plasminogen activator precursor) and Lig4 (DNA ligase 4) were found up-regulated in the 10.75 mg/kg PFOS-treated group compare with control group. Furthermore, we also found that (i) increased expression of caspase-3 protein and decreased expression of Bcl-2, Bcl-XL and survivin proteins, (ii) the increased glutamate release in the hippocampus. All these might contribute to the dysfunction of hippocampus which finally account for the impairments of spatial learning and memory in adult mice.

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