Perfluorooctanoic acid-induced inhibition of placental prolactin-family hormone and fetal growth retardation in mice

Chun Hui Suh, Nam Kyoo Cho, Chae Kwan Lee, Chang Hee Lee, Dae Hwan Kim, Jeong Ho Kim, Byung Chul Son, Jong-Tae Lee

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Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a persistent pollutant worldwide and even found in human cord blood and breast milk. Some animal studies have reported that PFOA causes developmental toxicity such as fetal weight loss, but the mechanism is still unclear. This study focused on developmental toxicity of PFOA, particularly impacts of PFOA on placental endocrine function such as placental prolactin (PRL)-family hormone gene expression and fetal growth in mouse. Time-mated CD-1 mice were dosed by gavage with 0, 2, 10 and 25. mg/kg B.W/day of PFOA (n=. 10) dissolved with de-ionized water from gestational day (GD) 11-16. During treatment, body weight of each pregnant mouse was measured daily. On day 16, caesarean sections were performed and developmental data were observed. Three placentas from three different pregnant mice were assigned to each of the following experiments. The mRNA levels of mouse placental lactogen (mPL)-II, prolactin like protein (mPLP)-E, -F and Pit-1α and β isotype mRNAs, a transacting factor of mPLs and mPLPs genes, were analyzed using northern blot, in situ hybridization and RT-PCR, respectively.Maternal body weight gain was significantly declined from GD 13 in the PFOA treated groups compared to control. Developmental data such as fetal and placental weights were significantly decreased in accordance with PFOA dosage. Number of dead fetuses and post-implantation losses were significantly increased in the PFOA-exposed groups. In addition, placental efficiency (fetal weight/placental weight) was significantly reduced in PFOA treated groups in accordance with PFOA dosage. Histopathologic changes were observed in placenta. Dose dependent necrotic changes were observed in both 10. mg and 25. mg PFOA treated groups. Cell frequency of glycogen trophoblast cell and parietal trophoblast giant cell were decreased dose dependently in the junctional zone. In the labyrinth zone, sinusoidal trophoblast giant cell frequency was decreased in the 25. mg PFOA treated group. Also, morphological change such as crushed nuclear (atrophy) of trophoblast cells was observed in 25. mg PFOA treated group. Finally, mRNA levels of the mPL-II, mPLP-E, -F and Pit-1α and β were significantly reduced in the PFOA treated groups dose dependently. In addition, the changing pattern between mPL-II, mPLP-E, -F mRNA levels and fetal body weight showed positive relationship.In conclusion, the inhibitory effects of PFOA on the placental prolactin-family hormone genes expression may be secondary effects to insufficient trophoblast cell type differentiation and/or increased trophoblast cell necrosis. The impacts of PFOA on placental development and endocrine function reduced the placental efficiency and partly contributed to the fetal growth retardation in the mouse.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-15
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Apr 30
Externally publishedYes



  • PFOA
  • Pit-1
  • Placenta
  • Placental lactogen
  • Prolactin-like protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry

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