Facultade de Fisioterapia

Perfluorooctane sulfonate effects on the reproductive axis in adult male rats

Authors: S. López-Doval, R. Salgado, N. Pereiro, R. Moyano, A. Lafuente.

Journal: Environmental Research, 134: 158-168, 10/2014

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envres.2014.07.006


Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) is a neurotoxic agent and it can disrupt the endocrine system activity. This work was undertaken to evaluate the possible effects of PFOS exposure on the hypothalamic–pituitary–testicular axis (HPT) in adult male rats, and to evaluate the possible morphological alterations induced by PFOS in the endocrine tissues of this axis. Adult male rats were orally treated with 0.5; 1.0; 3.0 and 6.0 mg of PFOS/kg/day for 28 days. After PFOS exposure, hypothalamic noradrenaline concentration increased in the anterior hypothalamus and in the median eminence, not changing in the mediobasal hypothalamus. PFOS treated rats presented a decrease of the gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) gene expression, increasing the mRNA levels of the luteinizing hormone (LH) in rats treated with all doses administered except with the dose of 6 mg/kg/day. PFOS also induced a raise of the follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) gene expression in the animals exposed to 0.5 and 1.0 mg of PFOS/kg/day. After PFOS exposure, hypothalamic GnRH concentration was modified, LH and testosterone release was inhibited and FSH secretion was stimulated. Moreover, PFOS induced several histopathological alterations in the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and testis. The results obtained in the present study suggest in general terms that PFOS can inhibit the physiological activity of the reproductive axis in adult male rats, which could be explained, at least in part, by the structural alterations showed in the animals exposed to this chemical: very dense chromatin, condensed ribosomes and a loss of the morphology in the hypothalamus; a degeneration of the gonadotrophic cells, as well as a loss and degeneration of the spermatozoids and a very marked edema in the testis.