Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) are widely used in industrial fields and consumer products, and are ubiquitously found in the environment and animal tissues. In the present study, their neurotoxicity was examined using rats and mice by means of neurobehavioral observation, histopathological inspection and chemical assays. PFOS and PFOA alone did not cause any neurotoxic symptoms up to their sublethal doses (PFOS: 500 mg/kg, PFOA: 1,000 mg/kg). However, tonic convulsions were caused in the PFOS-treated rats (≥ 250 mg/kg) and mice (≥ 125 mg/kg) when ultrasonic stimulus was applied to the animals. The same ultrasonic stimulus never induced convulsions in the control animals and in the animals treated with PFOA. Concentration of PFOS in the brain was considerably lower than in other tissue, but it seemed to increase gradually with time after exposure. No morphological changes were detected by histopathological examination of the brain. There were also no changes in concentrations of norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, glycine, 4-aminobutylic acid and glutamic acid in the brain. The present study revealed neurotoxic effects of PFOS in animals. Convulsive effect of PFOS may not be attributed to the quantitative alterations of neurotransmitters or lesions of nerve cells in the brain, although the mechanism of its neurotoxicity has not been cleared.
2009 The Japanese Society of Toxicology