Exposure to GenX and Its Novel Analogs Disrupts Hepatic Bile Acid Metabolism in Male Mice

By Hua Guo, Jiamiao Chen, Hongxia Zhang, Jingzhi Yao, Nan Sheng, Qi Li, Yong Guo, Chengying Wu, Weidong Xie, and Jiayin Dai
Environ Sci Technol
August 31, 2021
DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.1c02471

Due to its wide usage and recent detection in environmental matrices, hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (HFPO-DA, commercial name GenX) has attracted considerable attention. Here, we explored and compared the toxicity of GenX and its novel analogs with that of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) to provide guidance on the structural design and optimization of novel alternatives to poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). Adult male BALB/c mice were continuously exposed to PFOA, GenX, perfluoro-2-methyl-3,6-dioxo-heptanoic acid (PFMO2HpA), and perfluoro-2-methyl-3,6,8-trioxo-nonanoic acid (PFMO3NA; 0, 0.4, 2, or 10 mg/kg/d) via oral gavage for 28 days. The PFOA, GenX, and PFMO3NA treatment groups showed an increase in relative liver weight, and bile acid metabolism was the most significantly affected pathway in all treatment groups, as shown via weighted gene coexpression network analysis. The highest total bile acid levels were observed in the 2 and 10 mg/kg/d PFMO3NA groups. The ratios of primary bile acids to all bile acids increased in the high-dose groups, while the ratios of secondary bile acids showed a downward trend. Thus, bile acid metabolism disorder may be a prominent adverse effect induced by exposure to GenX, its analogs, and PFOA. Results also showed that the hepatotoxicity of PFMO2HpA was lower than that of GenX, whereas the hepatotoxicity of PFMO3NA was stronger, suggesting that PFMO2HpA may be a potential alternative to GenX.

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