Perfluorooctanoic Acid Disrupts Ovarian Steroidogenesis and Folliculogenesis in Adult Mice

May Yang, Yuna Lee, Liying Gao, Karen Chiu, Daryl D. Meling, Jodi A. Flaws, Genoa R. Warner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a synthetic fluorosurfactant used in the manufacturing of fluorotelomers. Although PFOA is no longer produced in the United States, it is environmentally persistent and found in imported food packaging, cookware, and textiles. Previous studies have identified developmental toxicity of PFOA, but little is known about the effects of PFOA on the adult ovary. Thus, this study examined the effects of PFOA on hormone levels, ovarian steroidogenic gene expression, and folliculogenesis in mice in vitro and in vivo. For the in vitro studies, antral follicles from adult female mice were cultured with vehicle control or 1, 10, or 100 μg/ml PFOA for 96 h. For the in vivo studies, adult CD-1 female mice were orally dosed with vehicle control or 1, 5, 10, or 20 mg/kg/day PFOA for 10 days. Gene expression of steroidogenic enzymes, levels of sex steroid hormones, and follicle counts were analyzed. In vitro, PFOA (100 μg/ml) significantly decreased follicle growth, estradiol and estrone levels, and gene expression of StaR, Cyp11a1, and Hsd3b1 compared with controls. In vivo, exposure to PFOA significantly decreased progesterone and pregnenolone levels (5 mg/kg), increased testosterone levels (1 mg/kg), and increased gene expression of Cyp19a1 (1 mg/kg) compared with controls. Exposure to PFOA also significantly altered follicle counts by decreasing primordial follicles and increasing preantral and antral follicles (5 and 10 mg/kg) compared with controls. Collectively, these data show that PFOA disrupts adult ovarian function in a nonmonotonic matter and may pose a risk for premature ovarian failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)260-268
Number of pages9
JournalToxicological Sciences
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Toxicology


  • PFOA
  • endocrine disruption
  • folliculogenesis
  • ovary
  • perfluorinated compounds


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