Immunotoxicity mechanisms of perfluorinated compounds PFOA and PFOS

By Luyun Liang, Yongling Pan, Lihua Bin, Yu Liu, Wenjun Huang, Rong Li, and Keng Po Lai
November 23, 2021
DOI: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2021.132892

Perfluorinated and polyfluorinated compounds (PFASs) are a class of synthetic chemical substances that are widely used in human production and life, such as fire-fighting foams, textiles and clothing, surfactants, and surface protective agents. Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) are the most abundant and common perfluorinated compounds in biota and humans. Currently, PFOA and PFOS have been listed in the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, and their production has been halted in many countries. However, because the high-energy carbon-fluorine bond can make it resistant to hydrolysis, photolysis, microbial degradation, and vertebrate metabolism, PFOA and PFOS show environmental persistence and bioaccumulation and hence, are of great concern to humans and wildlife. PFOA and PFOS have toxic effects on the immune system of the body. This article reviewed the effects of PFOA and PFOS on immune organs such as the spleen, bone marrow, and thymus of mice and zebrafish, and the effects on non-specific immune functions such as the skin barrier, intestinal mucosal barrier, and humoral immunity. We also reviewed the influence of specific immune functions based on cellular immunity, and further summarized the possible immune toxicity mechanisms such as AIM2 inflammasome activation, gene dysregulation, and signal pathway disorders caused by PFOA and PFOS. The aim of this review was to provide a reference for further understanding of the immunotoxicity and the responsible mechanism of PFOA and PFOS.

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