Time-dependent effects of perfluorinated compounds on viability in cerebellar granule neurons: Dependence on carbon chain length and functional group attached


H. F. Berntsen, C. G. Bjørklund, J.-N. Audinot, T. Hofer, S. Verhaegen, E. Lentzen, A. C. Gutleb, and E. Ropstad


NeuroToxicology, vol. 63, pp. 70-83, 2017


The toxicity of long chained perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) has previously been reported to be related to the length of the perfluorinated carbon chain and functional group attached. In the present study, we compared the cytotoxicity of six PFAAs, using primary cultures of rat cerebellar granule neurons (CGNs). Two perfluoroalkyl sulfonic acids (PFSAs, chain length C6 and C8) and four perfluoroalkyl carboxylic acids (PFCAs, chain length C8-C11) were studied. These PFAAs have been detected in human blood and the brain tissue of mammals. The cell viability trypan blue and MTT assays were used to determine toxicity potencies (based on LC50 values) after 24 hrs exposure (in descending order): perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUnDA) ≥ perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA) > perfluorooctanesulfonic acid potassium salt (PFOS) > perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA) > perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) > perfluorohexanesulfonic acid potassium salt (PFHxS). Concentrations of the six PFAAs that produced equipotent effects after 24 hrs exposure were used to further explore the dynamics of viability changes during this period. Therefore viability was assessed at 10, 30, 60, 90, 120 and 180 min as well as 6, 12, 18 and 24 hrs. A difference in the onset of reduction in viability was observed, occurring relatively quickly (30–60 min) for PFOS, PFDA and PFUnDA, and much slower (12–24 hrs) for PFHxS, PFOA and PFNA. A slight protective effect of vitamin E against PFOA, PFNA and PFOS-induced reduction in viability indicated a possible involvement of oxidative stress. PFOA and PFOS did not induce lipid peroxidation on their own, but significantly accelerated cumene hydroperoxide-induced lipid peroxidation. When distribution of the six PFAAs in the CGN-membrane was investigated using NanoSIMS50 imaging, two distinct patterns appeared. Whereas PFHxS, PFOS and PFUnDA aggregated in large hotspots, PFOA, PFNA and PFDA showed a more dispersed distribution pattern. In conclusion, the toxicity of the investigated PFAAs increased with increasing carbon chain length. For molecules with a similar chain length, a sulfonate functional group led to greater toxicity than a carboxyl group.



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