Toxicology letters

Perfluorooctanoic acid induces apoptosis through the p53-dependent mitochondrial pathway in human hepatic cells: a proteomic study.

PMID 24035753


Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is one of the most commonly used perfluorinated compounds, and exposure to it has been associated with a number of adverse health effects. However, the molecular mechanisms involved in PFOA toxicity are still not well characterized. In the present study, flow cytometry analysis revealed that PFOA induced oxidative stress, cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in human non-tumor hepatic cells (L-02). Furthermore, we investigated the alterations in protein profile within L-02 cells exposed to PFOA, aiming to explore the mechanisms underlying PFOA hepatotoxicity on the proteome level. Of the 28 proteins showing significant differential expression in response to PFOA, 24 were down-regulated and 4 were up-regulated. This proteomic study proposed that the inhibition of some proteins, including GRP78, HSP27, CTSD and hnRNPC may be involved in the activation of p53, which consequently triggered the apoptotic process in L-02 cells. Induction of apoptosis via the p53-dependent mitochondrial pathway is further suggested as one of the key toxicological events occurring in L-02 cells under PFOA stress. We hope these data will shed new light on the molecular mechanisms responsible for PFOA-mediated toxicity in human liver cells, and from such studies useful biomarkers indicative of PFOA exposure could be developed.