Morphological evidence of neurotoxic effects in chicken embryos after exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and inorganic cadmium

By Melyssa Kmecick, Mariliza Cristine Vieira da Costa, Ciro Alberto de Oliveira Ribeiro, and Claudia Feijo Ortolani-Machado
September 17, 2019
DOI: 10.1016/j.tox.2019.152286


Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and cadmium (Cd) are persistent environmental pollutants, bioaccumulative, and capable of crossing the placental barrier. There is evidence of developmental toxicity induced by PFOA and Cd, but their effects on early development are still poorly understood. In the present study, chicken embryos were exposed to PFOA, Cd, and a mixture of PFOA + Cd from blastula stage up to 72 h of incubation. Embryo mortality and morphology were assessed. PFOA and Cd exposure increased mortality and induced malformations, mainly in the cephalic region, the neural tube, and the ventral body wall. After mixed exposure the effect was observed mostly in the neural tube and the cephalic region. However, the mechanism remains unknown. Because of the resemblance between human and chick development, it was possible to correlate the observed alterations in chickens with known human congenital malformations. Therefore, PFOA and Cd are neurotoxic to chicken embryos inducing morphological abnormalities and are possibly neurotoxic to human embryos.

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