Developmental Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) Exposure as a Potential Risk Factor for Late-Onset Alzheimer's Disease in CD-1 Mice and SH-SY5Y Cells
By Veronia Basaly, Jaunetta Hill, Syed Waseem Bihaqi, Emily Marques, Angela L Slitt, and Nasser H Zawia
July 5, 2021
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that accounts for approximately 60 to 80% of dementia cases worldwide and is characterized by an accumulation of extracellular senile plaques composed of β-amyloid (Aβ) peptide and intracellular neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs) containing hyperphosphorylated tau protein. Sporadic or late-onset AD (LOAD) represents 95% of the AD cases and its etiology does not appear to follow Mendelian laws of inheritance, thus, implicating the role of epigenetic programming and environmental factors. Apolipoprotein allele 4 (ApoE4), the only established genetic risk factor for LOAD, is suggested to accelerate the pathogenesis of AD by increasing tau hyperphosphorylation, inhibiting the clearance of amyloid-β (Aβ), and promoting Aβ aggregation. Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS) is a persistent organic pollutant with potential neurotoxic effects that poses a major threat to the ecosystem and human health. By employing in vivo and in vitro models, the present study investigated PFOS as a potential risk factor for LOAD by assessing its impact on amyloidogenesis, tau pathology, and rodent behavior. Our behavioral analysis revealed that developmentally exposed male and female mice exhibited a strong trend of increased rearing and significantly increased distance traveled in the open field test. Biochemically, GSK3β and total ApoE were increased following developmental exposure, in vivo. Furthermore, in vitro, low concentrations of PFOS elevated protein levels of APP, tau, and its site-specific phosphorylation. Differentiated SH-SY5Y cells exposed to a series of PFOS concentrations, also, had elevated protein expression of GSK3β. These data suggest that total ApoE is inducible by environmental exposure to PFOS.
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