Publications : 2003

Lau C, Thibodeaux JR, Hanson RG, Rogers JM, Grey BE, Stanton ME, Butenhoff JL, Stevenson LA. 2003. Exposure to perfluorooctane sulfonate during pregnancy in rat and mouse. II: postnatal evaluation. Toxicol Sci 74:382–292.


The postnatal effects of in utero exposure to perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS, C8F17SO3-) were evaluated in the rat and mouse. Pregnant Sprague-Dawley rats were given 1, 2, 3, 5, or 10 mg/kg PFOS daily by gavage from gestation day (GD) 2 to GD 21; pregnant CD-1 mice were treated with 1, 5, 10, 15, and 20 mg/kg PFOS from GD 1 to GD 18. Controls received 0.5% Tween-20 vehicle (1 ml/kg for rats and 10 ml/kg for mice). At parturition, newborns were observed for clinical signs and survival. All animals were born alive and initially appeared to be active. In the highest dosage groups (10 mg/kg for rat and 20 mg/kg for mouse), the neonates became pale, inactive, and moribund within 30-60 min, and all died soon afterward. In the 5 mg/kg (rat) and 15 mg/kg (mouse) dosage groups, the neonates also became moribund but survived for a longer period of time (8-12 h). Over 95% of these animals died within 24 h. Approximately 50% of offspring died at 3 mg/kg for rat and 10 mg/kg for mouse. Cross-fostering the PFOS-exposed rat neonates (5 mg/kg) to control nursing dams failed to improve survival. Serum concentrations of PFOS in newborn rats mirrored the maternal administered dosage and were similar to those in the maternal circulation at GD 21; PFOS levels in the surviving neonates declined in the ensuing days. Small but significant and persistent growth lags were detected in surviving rat and mouse pups exposed to PFOS prenatally, and slight delays in eye opening were noted. Significant increases in liver weight were observed in the PFOS-exposed mouse pups. Serum thyroxine levels were suppressed in the PFOS-treated rat pups, although triiodothyronine and thyroid-stimulating hormone [TSH] levels were not altered. Choline acetyltransferase activity (an enzyme that is sensitive to thyroid status) in the prefrontal cortex of rat pups exposed to PFOS prenatally was slightly reduced, but activity in the hippocampus was not affected. Development of learning, determined by T-maze delayed alternation in weanling rats, was not affected by PFOS exposure. These results indicate that in utero exposure to PFOS severely compromised postnatal survival of neonatal rats and mice, and caused delays in growth and development that were accompanied by hypothyroxinemia in the surviving rat pups.