Journal of proteome research

Integrated proteomic and miRNA transcriptional analysis reveals the hepatotoxicity mechanism of PFNA exposure in mice.

PMID 25181679


Perfluoroalkyl chemicals (PFASs) are a class of highly stable man-made compounds, and their toxicological impacts are currently of worldwide concern. Administration of perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), a perfluorocarboxylic acid (PFCA) with a nine carbon backbone, resulted in dose-dependent hepatomegaly in mice (0, 0.2, 1, and 5 mg/kg body weight, once a day for 14 days) and an increase in hepatic triglycerides (TG) and total cholesterol (TCHO) in the median dose group as well as serum transaminases in the high dose group. Using isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ), we identified 108 (80 up-regulated, 28 down-regulated) and 342 hepatic proteins (179 up-regulated, 163 down-regulated) that exhibited statistically significant changes (at least a 1.2-fold alteration and P < 0.05) in the 1 and 5 mg/kg/d PFNA treatment groups, respectively. Sixty-six proteins (54 up-regulated, 12 down-regulated) significantly changed in both of the two treatment groups. Among these 54 up-regulated proteins, most were proteins related to the lipid metabolism process (31 proteins). The mRNA analysis results further suggested that PFNA exposure not only resulted in a fatty acid oxidation effect but also activated mouse liver genes involved in fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis. Additionally, three (2 down-regulated, 1 up-regulated) and 30 (14 down-regulated, 16 up-regulated) microRNAs (miRNAs) exhibited at least a 2-fold alteration (P < 0.05) in the 1 and 5 mg/kg/d PFNA treatment groups, respectively, Three miRNAs (up-regulated: miR-34a; down-regulated: miR-362-3p and miR-338-3p) significantly changed in both of the two treatment groups. The repression effect of miR-34a on fucosyltransferase 8 (Fut8) and lactate dehydrogenase (Ldha) was confirmed by luciferase activity assay and Western blot analysis. The results implied that PFNA exerted a hepatic effect, at least partially, by miRNAs mediated post-translational protein repression.