Developmental perfluorooctane sulfonic acid exposure exacerbates house dust mite induced allergic responses in adult mice

By Joseph H Lucas, Qixin Wang, Cortney Pang, and Irfan Rahman
Sci Total Environ
June 4, 2024
DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2024.173768

Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) is a long-chain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substance (PFAS), a persistent organic pollutant, which has been used in aqueous film-forming foams. Emerging epidemiological evidence indicates a significant body burden of PFOS is observed in the lungs. Furthermore, developmental PFOS exposure dysregulates lung development and exacerbates eosinophilic inflammation, which are critical risk factors for asthma. However, it is unknown whether PFOS exerts sex-dependent effects on house dust mite (HDM) induced asthmatic progression and allergic inflammation. In this study, timed pregnant Balb/cJ dams were dosed orally via PFOS (1.0 mg/kg/d) spiked or vehicle control mealworms from gestational day (GD) 0.5 to postnatal day (PND) 21. Subsequently, HDM (30 μg/day) was administered starting at PND 77-82 for 10 days, and the mice were sacrificed 48 h after their final treatment. The serum and lung PFOS concentrations were 3.391 ± 0.189 μg/mL and 3.302 ± 0.184 μg/g in the offspring, respectively. Male mice exposed to PFOS + HDM showed higher total cell counts in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid (BALF), macrophage counts, and eosinophil counts compared to mice exposed to HDM alone. Female mice exposed to PFOS + HDM had increased BALF eosinophil percentage, mucous production, alternatively activated (M2) macrophage polarization, and M2-associated gene expression compared to female mice exposed to HDM alone. PFOS exposure had no significant effect on HDM-induced IL-4, IL-5, or IL-13, but RANTES was further elevated in female mice. Overall, our data suggest that developmental environmental PFOS exposure increased the risk of exacerbated eosinophilic inflammation and M2 polarization, which were more severe in female mice.

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