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Concentrations of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in human embryonic and fetal organs from first, second, and third trimester pregnancies

Mamsen, Linn Salto; Björvang, Richelle D.; Mucs, Daniel; Vinnars, Marie Therese; Papadogiannakis, Nikos; Lindh, Christian H. LU ; Andersen, Claus Yding and Damdimopoulou, Pauliina (2019) In Environment International 124. p.482-492
Abstract

Background: The persistent environmental contaminants perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) have gained attention due to their potential adverse health effects, in particular following early life exposure. Information on human fetal exposure to PFASs is currently limited to one report on first trimester samples. There is no data available on PFAS concentrations in fetal organs throughout all three trimesters of pregnancy. Methods: We measured the concentrations of perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA), perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUnA), and perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS) in human embryos and fetuses with corresponding placentas and maternal... (More)

Background: The persistent environmental contaminants perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) have gained attention due to their potential adverse health effects, in particular following early life exposure. Information on human fetal exposure to PFASs is currently limited to one report on first trimester samples. There is no data available on PFAS concentrations in fetal organs throughout all three trimesters of pregnancy. Methods: We measured the concentrations of perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA), perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUnA), and perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS) in human embryos and fetuses with corresponding placentas and maternal serum samples derived from elective pregnancy terminations and cases of intrauterine fetal death. A total of 78 embryos and fetuses aged 7–42 gestational weeks were included and a total of 225 fetal organs covering liver, lung, heart, central nervous system (CNS), and adipose tissue were analyzed, together with 71 placentas and 63 maternal serum samples. PFAS concentrations were assayed by liquid chromatography/triple quadrupole mass spectrometry. Results: All evaluated PFASs were detected and quantified in maternal sera, placentas and embryos/fetuses. In maternal serum samples, PFOS was detected in highest concentrations, followed by PFOA > PFNA > PFDA = PFUnA = PFHxS. Similarly, PFOS was detected in highest concentrations in embryo/fetal tissues, followed by PFOA > PFNA = PFDA = PFUnA. PFHxS was detected in very few fetuses. In general, PFAS concentrations in embryo/fetal tissue (ng/g) were lower than maternal serum (ng/ml) but similar to placenta concentrations. The total PFAS burden (i.e. the sum of all PFASs) was highest in lung tissue in first trimester samples and in liver in second and third trimester samples. The burden was lowest in CNS samples irrespective of fetal age. The placenta:maternal serum ratios of PFOS, PFOA and PFNA increased across gestation suggesting bioaccumulation in the placenta. Further, we observed that the ratios were higher in pregnancies with male fetuses compared to female fetuses. Conclusions: Human fetuses were intrinsically exposed to a mixture of PFASs throughout gestation. The compounds were detected in all analyzed tissues, suggesting that PFASs reach and may affect many types of organs. Collectively, our results demonstrate that PFASs pass the placenta and deposit to embryo and fetal tissues, calling for risk assessment of gestational exposures.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Fetal organs, Maternal serum, Perfluoroalkyl substances, Placenta, Prenatal exposure
in
Environment International
volume
124
pages
11 pages
publisher
Elsevier
external identifiers
  • scopus:85060510692
ISSN
0160-4120
DOI
10.1016/j.envint.2019.01.010
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
2117bccf-441c-4939-9751-77b0285bca9d
date added to LUP
2019-02-05 07:45:39
date last changed
2019-03-08 03:25:10
@article{2117bccf-441c-4939-9751-77b0285bca9d,
  abstract     = {<p>Background: The persistent environmental contaminants perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) have gained attention due to their potential adverse health effects, in particular following early life exposure. Information on human fetal exposure to PFASs is currently limited to one report on first trimester samples. There is no data available on PFAS concentrations in fetal organs throughout all three trimesters of pregnancy. Methods: We measured the concentrations of perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), perfluorodecanoic acid (PFDA), perfluoroundecanoic acid (PFUnA), and perfluorohexane sulfonic acid (PFHxS) in human embryos and fetuses with corresponding placentas and maternal serum samples derived from elective pregnancy terminations and cases of intrauterine fetal death. A total of 78 embryos and fetuses aged 7–42 gestational weeks were included and a total of 225 fetal organs covering liver, lung, heart, central nervous system (CNS), and adipose tissue were analyzed, together with 71 placentas and 63 maternal serum samples. PFAS concentrations were assayed by liquid chromatography/triple quadrupole mass spectrometry. Results: All evaluated PFASs were detected and quantified in maternal sera, placentas and embryos/fetuses. In maternal serum samples, PFOS was detected in highest concentrations, followed by PFOA &gt; PFNA &gt; PFDA = PFUnA = PFHxS. Similarly, PFOS was detected in highest concentrations in embryo/fetal tissues, followed by PFOA &gt; PFNA = PFDA = PFUnA. PFHxS was detected in very few fetuses. In general, PFAS concentrations in embryo/fetal tissue (ng/g) were lower than maternal serum (ng/ml) but similar to placenta concentrations. The total PFAS burden (i.e. the sum of all PFASs) was highest in lung tissue in first trimester samples and in liver in second and third trimester samples. The burden was lowest in CNS samples irrespective of fetal age. The placenta:maternal serum ratios of PFOS, PFOA and PFNA increased across gestation suggesting bioaccumulation in the placenta. Further, we observed that the ratios were higher in pregnancies with male fetuses compared to female fetuses. Conclusions: Human fetuses were intrinsically exposed to a mixture of PFASs throughout gestation. The compounds were detected in all analyzed tissues, suggesting that PFASs reach and may affect many types of organs. Collectively, our results demonstrate that PFASs pass the placenta and deposit to embryo and fetal tissues, calling for risk assessment of gestational exposures.</p>},
  author       = {Mamsen, Linn Salto and Björvang, Richelle D. and Mucs, Daniel and Vinnars, Marie Therese and Papadogiannakis, Nikos and Lindh, Christian H. and Andersen, Claus Yding and Damdimopoulou, Pauliina},
  issn         = {0160-4120},
  keyword      = {Fetal organs,Maternal serum,Perfluoroalkyl substances,Placenta,Prenatal exposure},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {482--492},
  publisher    = {Elsevier},
  series       = {Environment International},
  title        = {Concentrations of perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) in human embryonic and fetal organs from first, second, and third trimester pregnancies},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envint.2019.01.010},
  volume       = {124},
  year         = {2019},
}