Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) induces reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in human microvascular endothelial cells: Role in endothelial permeability

Yong Qian, Alan Ducatman, Rebecca Ward, Steve Leonard, Valerie Bukowski, Nancy Lan Guo, Xianglin Shi, Val Vallyathan, Vincent Castranova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

132 Scopus citations


Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) is a member of the perfluoroalkyl acids (PFAA) containing an eight-carbon backbone. PFOS is a man-made chemical with carbon-fluorine bonds that are among the strongest in organic chemistry, and PFOS is widely used in industry. Human occupational and environmental exposure to PFOS occurs globally. PFOS is non-biodegradable and is persistent in the human body and environment. In this study, data demonstrated that exposure of human microvascular endothelial cells (HMVEC) to PFOS induced the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) at both high and low concentrations. Morphologically, it was found that exposure to PFOS induced actin filament remodeling and endothelial permeability changes in HMVEC. Furthermore, data demonstrated that the production of ROS plays a regulatory role in PFOS-induced actin filament remodeling and the increase in endothelial permeability. Our results indicate that the generation of ROS may play a role in PFOS-induced aberrations of the endothelial permeability barrier. The results generated from this study may provide a new insight into the potential adverse effects of PFOS exposure on humans at the cellular level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)819-836
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part A: Current Issues
Issue number12
StatePublished - Jan 2010

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Received 7 December 2009; accepted 30 January 2010. Dr. Nancy Lan Guo was supported by two grants from NIH (NIH R01LM009500 and NCRR P20RR16440). Dr. Ducatman’s efforts are partially supported by the Mitchell M. Benedict and Helen L. Benedict Endowment Fund, as well as by a contract from Brookmar, Inc., which performed medical surveillance for PFOA settlement-class participants in the mid-Ohio Valley. The findings and conclusions in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Address correspondence to Yong Qian, Pathology and Physiology Research Branch, Health Effects Laboratory Division, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1095 Willowdale Road, Morgantown, WV 26505-2888, USA. E-mail:

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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