Perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, a persistent organic pollutant, inhibits iodide accumulation by thyroid follicular cells in vitro.

By Amalia Conti, Chiara Strazzeri, and Kerry J Rhoden
Mol. Cell. Endocrinol.
July 7, 2020
DOI: 10.1016/j.mce.2020.110922

Poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a class of endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) reported to alter thyroid function. Iodide uptake by thyroid follicular cells, an early step in the synthesis of thyroid hormones, is a potential target for thyroid disruption by EDCs. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the acute effects of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and perfluorooctane carboxylic acid (PFOA), two of the most abundant PFAS in the environment, on iodide transport by thyroid follicular cells in vitro. Dynamic changes in intracellular iodide concentration were monitored by live cell imaging using YFP-H148Q/I152, a genetically encoded fluorescent iodide biosensor. PFOS, but not PFOA, acutely and reversibly inhibited iodide accumulation by FRTL-5 thyrocytes, as well as by HEK-293 cells transiently expressing the Sodium Iodide Symporter (NIS). PFOS prevented NIS-mediated iodide uptake and reduced intracellular iodide concentration in iodide-containing cells, mimicking the effect of the NIS inhibitor perchlorate. PFOS did not affect iodide efflux from thyroid cells. The results of this study suggest that disruption of iodide homeostasis in thyroid cells may be a potential mechanism for anti-thyroid health effects of PFOS. The study also confirms the utility of the YFP-H148Q/I152 cell-based assay to screen environmental PFAS, and other EDCs, for anti-thyroid activity.

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