Multi-biomarker responses in green mussels exposed to PFCs: Effects at molecular, cellular, and physiological levels

Changhui Liu, Karina Y.H. Gin, Victor W.C. Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) are extremely persistent and have been found extensively in the environment and wildlife. Oceans are the final sink for many persistent organic pollutants (POPs) including PFCs. However, to date, there has been a lack of studies that investigated the environmental consequences of PFCs on marine organisms. To fill in this gap, environmental toxicity of two dominant PFCs, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoate (PFOA), was examined in a sentinel species, green mussel Perna viridis, using a series of biomarkers corresponding to different biological levels (molecular, cellular, and physiological). Correlations among these biomarkers were also investigated. The results showed that the tested compounds can induce a series adverse effect at different biological levels, including oxidative stress, DNA damage, membrane instability, suppressed filtration rate, and reduced body weight. Correlation analysis revealed that excess production of reactive oxygen species could be the major toxic pathway. An indirect mode of toxic action was also explored where adverse impacts could be secondary effects of PFC exposure. The joint analysis of biomarkers from multiple biological levels resulted in a comprehensive understanding of how PFC exposure can influence the health of organisms. The correlations of these biomarkers also provided a new perspective of the ecological consequences of PFCs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2785-2794
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Pollution Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • PFOS
  • PFOA
  • . Emerging organic pollutants
  • Environmental toxicity
  • Biomarker response
  • Green mussel

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