Toxicity assessment of hexafluoropropylene oxide-dimer acid on morphology, heart physiology, and gene expression during zebrafish (Danio rerio) development


Hexafluoropropylene oxide-dimer acid (HFPO-DA) is one of the emerging replacements for the “forever” carcinogenic and toxic long-chain PFAS. HFPO-DA is a polymerization aid used for manufacturing fluoropolymers, whose global distribution and undetermined toxic properties are a concern regarding human and ecological health. To assess embryotoxic potential, zebrafish embryos were exposed to HFPO-DA at concentrations of 0.5-20,000 mg/L at 24-, 48-, and 72-h post-fertilization (hpf). Heart rate increased significantly in embryos exposed to 2 mg/L and 10 mg/L HFPO-DA across all time points. Spinal deformities and edema phenotypes were evident among embryos exposed to 1000-16,000 mg/L HFPO-DA at 72 hpf. A median lethal concentration (LC50) was derived as 7651 mg/L at 72 hpf. Shallow RNA sequencing analysis of 9465 transcripts identified 38 consistently differentially expressed genes at 0.5 mg/L, 1 mg/L, 2 mg/L, and 10 mg/L HFPO-DA exposures. Notably, seven downregulated genes were associated with visual response, and seven upregulated genes were expressed in or regulated the cardiovascular system. This study identifies biological targets and molecular pathways affected during animal development by an emerging, potentially problematic, and ubiquitous industrial chemical.

Authors: Sylvia Gong, Flannery McLamb, Damian Shea, Jeanne P Vu, Miguel F Vasquez, Zuying Feng, Kesten Bozinovic, Ken K Hirata, Richard M Gersberg, Goran Bozinovic
; Full Source: Environmental science and pollution research international 2022 Dec 3. doi: 10.1007/s11356-022-24542-z.