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Effects of chlorinated polyfluoroalkyl ether sulfonate in comparison with perfluoroalkyl acids on gene profiles and stemness in human mesenchymal stem cells

Pan, Yifan, Qin, Hui, Liu, Wei, Zhang, Qian, Zheng, Lu, Zhou, Chunyan, Quan, Xie
Chemosphere 2019 v.237 pp. 124402
bone formation, calcium, calcium signaling, developmental toxicity, fluorescent antibody technique, genes, mesenchymal stromal cells, messenger RNA, mitogen-activated protein kinase, osteoblasts, perfluorohexane sulfonic acid, perfluorooctane sulfonic acid, perfluorooctanoic acid, risk, staining, stem cells, sulfonates, transforming growth factor beta
Chlorinated polyfluoroalkyl ether sulfonate (Cl-PFESA) is a novel alternative of perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). While its health risks remain unknown, there is preliminary evidence of developmental toxicity. In the present study, human bone mesenchymal stem cells (hBMSCs) were used to evaluate the effects of Cl-PFESA at non-cytotoxic concentrations on molecular regulation and cellular function of stem cells compared to PFOS, perfluorohexane sulfonate (PFHxS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Gene profiles of hBMSCs exposed to 100 nM of Cl-PFESA and the other 3 perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAAs) correlated significantly with each other. A total of 261 genes were found to be affected by all 4 compounds. Functional annotation analysis revealed that osteoblast differentiation, ERK1/2, TGFβ and calcium signalling were interfered. Moreover, DUSP mRNA and P-SMAD protein, key factors in ERK and TGFβ/SMAD signaling, were decreased by Cl-PFESA. Furthermore, intracellular calcium image suggested that calcium transients were enhanced by Cl-PFESA with lower effective concentrations and more prolonged induction than PFOS and PFHxS. Immunofluorescence staining confirmed that the stemness marker CD44 was dose-dependently repressed by Cl-PFESA. In the osteogenic differentiation following exposure to 100 nM of Cl-PFESA, both mRNA and protein of RUNX2, a target of multiple osteogenic pathways, was depressed on differentiation day 7. Exposure to Cl-PFESA at human relevant concentrations during a vulnerable period before differentiation posed persistent effects on hBMSCs, with common or even stronger potency compared to PFAAs.