Assessment of Mouse Liver Histopathology Following Exposure to HFPO-DA With Emphasis on Understanding Mechanisms of Hepatocellular Death


Ammonium 2,3,3,3-tetrafluoro-2-(heptafluoropropoxy)-propanoate (HFPO-DA) is a short chain member of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). To better understand the relevance of histopathological effects seen in livers of mice exposed to HFPO-DA for human health risk assessment, histopathological effects were summarized from hematoxylin and eosin (H&E)-stained sections in several repeat-dose toxicity studies in mice. Findings across studies revealed histopathological changes consistent with peroxisomal proliferation, whereas two reports of steatosis could not be confirmed in the published figures. In addition, mechanisms of hepatocellular death were assessed in H&E sections as well as with the apoptotic marker cleaved caspase-3 (CCasp3) in newly cut sections from archived liver blocks from select studies. A comparison of serially CCasp3 immunolabeled and H&E-stained sections revealed that mechanisms of hepatocellular death cannot be clearly discerned in H&E-stained liver sections alone as several examples of putatively necrotic cells were positive for CCasp3. Published whole genome transcriptomic data were also reevaluated for enrichment of various forms of hepatocellular death in response to HFPO-DA, which revealed enrichment of apoptosis and autophagy, but not ferroptosis, pyroptosis, or necroptosis. These morphological and molecular findings are consistent with transcriptomic evidence for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARα) signaling in HFPO-DA exposed mice.

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