GenX Induces Fibroinflammatory Gene Expression in Primary Human Hepatocytes

By Dakota R Robarts, Kaitlyn K Venneman, Sumedha Gunewardena, and Udayan Apte
July 15, 2022
DOI: 10.1016/j.tox.2022.153259

The toxicity induced by the persistent organic pollutants per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) is dependent on the length of their polyfluorinated tail. Long-chain PFASs have significantly longer half-lives and profound toxic effects compared to their short-chain counterparts. Recently, production of a short-chain PFAS substitute called ammonium 2,3,3,3-tetrafluoro-2-(heptafluoropropoxy) propanoate, also known as GenX, has significantly increased. However, the adverse health effects of GenX are not completely known. In this study, we investigated the dose-dependent effects of GenX on primary human hepatocytes (PHH). Freshly isolated PHH were treated with either 0.1, 10, or 100μM of GenX for 48 and 96hours; then, global transcriptomic changes were determined using Human Clariom D arrays. GenX-induced transcriptional changes were similar at 0.1 and 10μM doses but were significantly different at the 100μM dose. Genes involved in lipid, monocarboxylic acid, and ketone metabolism were significantly altered following exposure of PHH at all doses. However, at the 100μM dose, GenX caused changes in genes involved in cell proliferation, inflammation and fibrosis. A correlation analysis of concentration and differential gene expression revealed that 576 genes positively (R > 0.99) and 375 genes negatively (R < -0.99) correlated with GenX concentration. The upstream regulator analysis indicated HIF1α was inhibited at the lower doses but were activated at the higher dose. Additionally, VEGF, PPARα, STAT3, and SMAD4 signaling was induced at the 100µM dose. These data indicate that at lower doses GenX can interfere with metabolic pathways and at higher doses can induce fibroinflammatory changes in human hepatocytes.

View on PubMed