Tissue distribution of 14C-labelled perfluorooctanoic acid in adult mice after 1-5 days of dietary exposure to an experimental dose or a lower dose that resulted in blood levels similar to those detected in exposed humans
By Jasna Bogdanska, Daniel Borg, Ulrika Bergström, Maria Mellring, Åke Bergman, Joseph DePierre, and Stefan Nobel
November 17, 2019
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), a global environmental pollutant detected in both wildlife and human populations, has several pathophysiological effects in experimental animals, including hepatotoxicity, immunotoxicity, and developmental toxicity. However, details concerning the tissue distribution of PFOA, in particular at levels relevant to humans, are lacking, which limits our understanding of how humans, and other mammals, may be affected by this compound. Therefore, we characterized the tissue distribution of 14C-PFOA in mice in the same manner as we earlier examined its analogues perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorobutanesulfonate (PFBS) in order to allow direct comparisons. Following dietary exposure of adult male C57/BL6 mice for 1, 3 or 5 days to a low dose (0.06 mg/kg/day) or a higher experimental dose (22 mg/kg/day) of 14C-PFOA, both scintillation counting and whole-body autoradiography revealed the presence of PFOA in most of the 19 different tissues examined, demonstrating its ability to leave the bloodstream and enter tissues. There were no differences in the pattern of tissue distribution with the low and high dose and the tissue-to-blood ratios were similar. At both doses, PFOA levels were highest in the liver, followed by blood, lungs and kidneys. The body compartments estimated to contain the largest amounts of PFOA were the liver, blood, skin and muscle. In comparison with our identical studies on PFOS and PFBS, PFOA reached considerably higher tissue levels than PFBS, but lower than PFOS. Furthermore, the distribution of PFOA differed notably from that of PFOS, with lower tissue-to-blood ratios in the liver, lungs, kidneys and skin.