Use of glioma to assess the distribution of patterns of perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances in human brain

By Meng-Yi Xie, Zhi-Ying Lin, Liang-Ying Liu, Chen-Chou Wu, Ya-Wei Liu, Guang-Long Huang, and Eddy Y Zeng
Environ Res
September 8, 2021
DOI: 10.1016/j.envres.2021.112011

Human brain has a complex structure and is able to perform powerful functions. Blood-brain barrier blocks the entry of foreign substances and maintains the homeostasis of the brain. However, some exogenous substances are still able to pass through the blood-brain barrier, with distribution patterns yet to be clarified. Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs), including perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (PFCAs), perfluoroalkyl sulfonic acids (PFSAs), a precursor (perfluorooctane sulfonamide that can be degraded to other substances), and emerging PFASs, were analyzed for the first time in living human brain glioma. The target compounds were detected and quantified in 25 out of 26 glioma samples. The concentration range of ∑PFAS was < RL-51 ng g wet weight (applied to all reported concentrations), with a median of 2.9 ng g. The most abundant compound was PFCAs (40%), followed by PFSAs (28%), emerging PFASs (22%), and perfluorooctane sulfonamide (10%). Abundant alternatives PFASs, including short-chain PFCAs, short-chain PFSAs, and emerging PFASs (52% of ∑PFAS), were found in the glioma samples, supporting the notion that low molecular weight exogenous compounds have high permeability to cross the blood-brain barrier and accumulate in brain tissue. Gender difference was not significant (p > 0.05) in the concentrations of PFASs in the glioma samples. Concentrations of PFASs increased with increasing age, from 0.61 ng g (0-14 years old) to 1.6 ng g (>48 years old), with no significant linear correlation with age. The present study suggested that glioma is an effective indicator for monitoring exogenous contaminants in brain tissues.

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