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Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2013 Nov;20(11):8031-44. doi: 10.1007/s11356-013-1753-3. Epub 2013 Jun 14.

Perfluorinated compounds affect the function of sex hormone receptors.

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Centre for Arctic Health and Unit of Cellular and Molecular Toxicology, Department of Public Health, Aarhus University, Building 1260, Bartholins Allé 2, 8000, Aarhus, Denmark.


Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) are a large group of chemicals used in different industrial and commercial applications. Studies have suggested the potential of some PFCs to disrupt endocrine homeostasis, increasing the risk of adverse health effects. This study aimed to elucidate mechanisms behind PFC interference with steroid hormone receptor functions. Seven PFCs [perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS), perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS), perfluorooctanoate (PFOA), perfluorononanoate (PFNA), perfluorodecanoate (PFDA), perfluoroundecanoate (PFUnA), and perfluorododecanoate (PFDoA)] were analyzed in vitro for their potential to affect estrogen receptor (ER) and androgen receptor (AR) transactivity as well as aromatase enzyme activity. The PFCs were assessed as single compounds and in an equimolar mixture. PFHxS, PFOS and PFOA significantly induced the ER transactivity, whereas PFHxS, PFOS, PFOA, PFNA and PFDA significantly antagonized the AR activity in a concentration-dependent manner. Moreover, PFDA weakly decreased the aromatase activity at a high test concentration. A mixture effect more than additive was observed on AR function. We conclude that five of the seven PFCs possess the potential in vitro to interfere with the function of the ER and/or the AR. The observed mixture effect emphasizes the importance of considering the combined action of PFCs in future studies to assess related health risks.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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