Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) exposure in women seeking in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer treatment (IVF-ET) in China: Blood-follicular transfer and associations with IVF-ET outcomes


As follicular fluid constitutes a critical microenvironment for the development of oocytes, investigation of environmental contaminants in follicular fluid may facilitate a better understanding of the influence of environmental exposure on reproductive health. In the present study, we aimed to investigate per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) exposure in women receiving in vitro fertilization-embryo transfer (IVF-ET) treatment, determine the blood-follicle transfer efficiencies (BFTE) of PFAS, and explore potential associations between PFAS exposure and selected IVF-ET outcomes. Our results revealed that n-PFOA was the most abundant PFAS in both serum and follicular fluid (FF) (median = 5.85 and 5.56 ng/mL, respectively), followed by n-PFOS (4.95 and 4.28 ng/mL), 6:2 Cl-PFESA (2.18 and 2.10 ng/mL), PFNA (1.37 and 1.37 ng/mL), PFUdA (0.33 and 0.97 ng/mL), PFDA (0.37 and 0.66 ng/mL), PFHxS (0.42 and 0.39 ng/mL), and PFHpS (0.11 and 0.10 ng/mL). The median BFTE ranged from 0.65 to 0.92 for individual PFAS, indicating a relatively high tendency of PFAS to cross the blood-follicle barrier (BFB). An inverted V-shaped trend was observed between the median BFTE and the number of fluorinated carbon atoms or the log Kow (octanol-water partition coefficient) for individual PFAS, suggesting the influence by physicochemical properties and molecular structures. Although our data did not find any clear pattern in the link between blood or follicular fluid concentrations of PFAS and selected IVF-ET outcomes, our study raises the need for better characterization of exposure to environmental chemicals in follicular fluid together with its potential influence on reproductive health.

Authors: Aobo Hong, Lili Zhuang, Qun Lu, Pan Yang, Shu Su, Bin Wang, Guohuan Zhang, Da Chen
; Full Source: The Science of the total environment 2022 May 27;156323. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2022.156323.