Impacts of two perfluorinated compounds (PFOS and PFOA) on human hepatoma cells: Cytotoxicity but no genotoxicity?
Perfluorinated compounds (PFCs) and particularly two of them, perfluoroctanoate (PFOA) and perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS), have been widely produced and used since 1950. They both persist in the environment and accumulate in wildlife and humans. The toxicity of PFOS and PFOA has been studied extensively in rodents with several adverse effects mainly a hepatocarcinogenic potential. Carcinogenic effects are not highlighted in humans' studies. In this study, we investigated the cytotoxic and genotoxic effects of PFOA and PFOS using human HepG2 cells after 1 or 24h of exposure. The cytotoxic and genotoxic potential was evaluated by MTT assay, single cell gel electrophoresis (SCGE) assay and micronucleus assay respectively. We measured the intracellular generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) using dichlorofluorescein diacetate to identify a potential mechanism of toxicity. We observed a cytotoxic effect of PFOA and PFOS after 24h of exposure starting from a concentration of 200 μM (MTT: -14.6%) and 300 μM (MTT: -51.2%) respectively. We did not observe an increase of DNA damage with the comet assay or micronucleus with the micronucleus assay after exposure to the two PFCs. After 24h of exposure, both PFOA and PFOS highlight a decrease of ROS generation (-5.9% to -23%). We did not find an effect after an hour of exposure. Our findings show that PFOA and PFOS exert a cytotoxic effect on the human cells line HepG2 but nor PFOA or PFOS could induce an increase of DNA damage (DNA strand breaks and micronucleus) or reactive oxygen species at the range concentration tested. Our results do not support that oxidative stress and DNA damage are relevant for potential adverse effects of PFOA and PFOS. These results tend to support epidemiological studies that do not show evidence of carcinogenicity.
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