NTP-led team finds adverse effects of PFOA and GenX in mice
In an NIEHS-funded study focusing on the placenta, scientists from the Division of the National Toxicology Program (DNTP), U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Duke University collaborated to compare the impact of gestational exposure to environmental contaminants perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid, known as GenX, on experimental mice.
They found that both compounds led to greater gestational weight gain, higher maternal liver weights, adverse microscopic pathological changes in the maternal liver, disproportionate placenta weights, and abnormal histopathological lesions in the mature placenta. However, the placenta lesion signatures appeared to be compound-specific, perhaps due to unique mechanisms of reproductive toxicity.
The study was the first to look at potential adverse effects on the placenta from gestational exposure to PFOA and GenX. The authors suggested that although the biological mechanism by which compounds like PFOA affect embryo growth is unknown, the placenta is now a confirmed target tissue.
GenX is a replacement compound for the commercially phased-out PFOA. The synthetic chemicals belong to the poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances class. Both have been detected in humans, with drinking water the best-understood route of exposure. GenX received intense public scrutiny in 2015 after reports that it contaminated the North Carolina Cape Fear River Basin. (EH)
Citation: Blake BE, Cope HA, Hall SM, Keys RD, Mahler BW, McCord J, Scott B, Stapleton HM, Strynar MJ, Elmore SA, Fenton SE. 2020. Evaluation of maternal, embryo, and placental effects in CD-1 mice following gestational exposure to perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) or hexafluoropropylene oxide dimer acid (HFPO-DA or GenX). Environ Health Perspect 128(2):27006.