Emerging contaminant GenX is not a safe alternative
Prenatal exposure to hexafluoropropylene oxide-dimer acid, or GenX, causes sex-specific metabolic and liver problems in adult mice, according to NIEHS researchers and their collaborators.
GenX is the modern-day replacement for perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) in many industrial applications and consumer products, but it is also a widespread environmental pollutant, and its health effects are unclear. PFOA is a global, persistent environmental contaminant associated with adverse metabolic outcomes.
To address this knowledge gap, the researchers exposed pregnant mice to daily oral doses of GenX or PFOA. Prenatal exposure to the chemicals induced harmful metabolic outcomes in adult mice, but the effects depended on dose, diet, and sex. GenX-exposed males fed a normal diet displayed increased weight gain and fat mass, fatty liver, and sensitivity to the hormone insulin. By contrast, females that were exposed to GenX or PFOA and fed a high-fat diet showed an increase in liver cell death.
Taken together, the findings show that exposure to relatively low doses of GenX in the womb may lead to metabolic disease in adult males and liver damage in females. According to the authors, the results suggest that GenX may not be a safe alternative to PFOA. (JW)
Citation: Cope HA, Blake BE, Love C, McCord J, Elmore SA, Harvey JB, Chappell VA, Fenton SE. 2021. Latent, sex-specific metabolic health effects in CD-1 mouse offspring exposed to PFOA or HFPO-DA (GenX) during gestation. Emerg Contam 7:219–235.