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Toxicol Lett. 2014 Oct 15;230(2):252-62. doi: 10.1016/j.toxlet.2014.01.003. Epub 2014 Jan 17.

Regulation of corticosterone secretion is modified by PFOS exposure at different levels of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in adult male rats.

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Laboratory of Toxicology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Vigo, Las Lagunas S/n, 32004 Ourense, Spain.
Department of Pharmacology, Toxicology and Legal and Forensic Medicine, Veterinary Faculty, University of Córdoba, 14071, Córdoba, Spain.
Department of Comparative Pathology, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Córdoba, 14071 Córdoba, Spain.
Laboratory of Toxicology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Vigo, Las Lagunas S/n, 32004 Ourense, Spain. Electronic address:


Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) is a fluorinated compound and a Persistent Organic Pollutant which can disrupt the endocrine system. This work was undertaken to evaluate the possible effects of PFOS exposure on the regulation of corticosterone secretion in adrenal and pituitary glands and at hypothalamic level in adult male rat, and to evaluate the possible morphological alterations induced by PFOS in this endocrine tissue. Adult male rats were orally treated with 0.5, 1.0, 3.0 and 6.0 mg of PFOS/kg/day for 28 days. Corticosterone, adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) and corticotrophin-releasing hormone (CRH) secretion decreased in PFOS-treated rats. After PFOS exposure, relative expression of adrenocorticotropic hormone receptor (ACTHr) and proopiomelanocortin (POMC) genes was increased in adrenal and in pituitary glands, respectively; while relative expression of ACTHr and CRH genes decreased in hypothalamus with the doses of 0.5 and 1.0 mg/kg/day. PFOS treatment increased relative nitric oxide synthase 1 and 2 (NOS1 and NOS2) gene expression in the adrenal gland, and incremented superoxide dismutase activity. PFOS exposure induces a global inhibition of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis activity, and small morphological changes were observed in adrenal zona fasciculata cells.


Corticosterone; Histopathology; Hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis; Oxidative stress; PFOS

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