Genotoxicity assessment of perfluoroalkyl substances on human sperm

EMERCE E. , Cetin O.

TOXICOLOGY AND INDUSTRIAL HEALTH, vol.34, no.12, pp.884-890, 2018 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 34 Issue: 12
  • Publication Date: 2018
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/0748233718799191
  • Page Numbers: pp.884-890


Perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are synthetic chemicals that have been used in industry and consumer products. Because the presence of PFAS has been identified in humans and the environment in the last decade, human exposure to PFAS is a current public health concern. It has been shown that some PFAS lead to adverse health effects in the male reproductive system. However, there is no information about probable genotoxic effects of these chemicals on sperm cells. This study aimed to investigate the possible genotoxic damage on human sperm cells exposed to certain major PFAS compounds that were selected considering their extensive usage, high persistence in the environment, and high bioaccumulation in humans. These PFAS are perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFOS), perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorononanoic acid (PFNA), and perfluorohexanoic acid (PFHxA). The alkaline comet assay was used to detect the DNA damage to sperm. Sperm cells were treated with 0.1-1 mM of each PFAS at 32 degrees C for 1 h to obtain optimal survival. As a result of the experiments, it was discovered that the exposure to PFOS, PFOA, PFNA, and PFHxA did not cause significant levels of cytotoxicity and did not cause damage to sperm DNA under these conditions. The results suggest that the exposure to these PFAS did not interfere with sperm DNA. Indirect toxicity mechanisms should be taken into account to assess the association between the PFAS exposure and male reproductive toxicity.