Oxidative toxicity of perfluorinated chemicals in green mussel and bioaccumulation factor dependent quantitative structure-activity relationship

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

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13 Citations (Scopus)


Concerns regarding perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) have risen in recent years because of their ubiquitous presence and high persistency. However, data on the environmental impacts of PFCs on marine organisms are very limited. Oxidative toxicity has been suggested to be one of the major toxic pathways for PFCs to induce adverse effects on organisms. To investigate PFC-induced oxidative stress and oxidative toxicity, a series of antioxidant enzyme activities and oxidative damage biomarkers were examined to assess the adverse effects of the following 4 commonly detected compounds: perfluoro-octanesulfonate, perfluoro-ocanoic acid, perfluorononanoic acid, and perfluorodecanoic acid, on green mussel (Perna viridis). Quantitative structure-activity relationship (QSAR) models were also established. The results showed that all the tested PFCs are able to induce antioxidant response and oxidative damage on green mussels in a dose-dependent manner. At low exposure levels (0 µg/L-100 µg/L), activation of antioxidant enzymes (catalase [CAT] and superoxide dismutase [SOD]) was observed, which is an adaptive response to the excessive reactive oxygen species induced by PFCs, while at high exposure levels (100 µg/L-10 000 µg/L), PFCs were found to inhibit some enzyme activity (glutathione S-transferase and SOD) where the organism's ability to respond in an adaptive manner was compromised. The oxidative stress under high PFC exposure concentration also led to lipid and DNA damage. PFC-induced oxidative toxicity was found to be correlated with the bioaccumulation potential of PFCs. Based on this relationship, QSAR models were established using the bioaccumulation factor (BAF) as the molecular descriptor for the first time. Compared with previous octanol-water partition coefficient-dependent QSAR models, the BAF-dependent QSAR model is more suitable for the impact assessment of PFCs and thus provides a more accurate description of the toxic behavior of these compounds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2323-2332
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology and Chemistry
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Perfluorinated compound
  • Oxidative toxicity
  • Quantitative structure–activity relationship
  • Green mussel

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