Vascular endothelium as a target for perfluroalkyl substances (PFAs)

Sharine Wittkopp, Fen Wu, Joseph Windheim, Morgan Robinson, Kurunthachalam Kannan, Stuart D. Katz, Yu Chen, Jonathan D. Newman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Perfluoroalkyl substances (PFAs) are ubiquitous, anthropogenic organic compounds that have been linked with cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular risk factors. Older, long-chain PFAs have been phased out due to adverse cardiometabolic health effect and replaced by newer short-chain PFAs. However, emerging research suggests that short-chain PFAs may also have adverse cardiovascular effects. Non-invasive measures of vascular function can detect preclinical cardiovascular disease and serve as a useful surrogate for early CVD risk. We hypothesized that serum concentrations of PFAs would be associated with noninvasive measures of vascular function, carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) and brachial artery reactivity testing (BART), in adults with non-occupational exposure to PFAs. Methods: We measured serum concentrations of 14 PFAs with hybrid solid-phase extraction and ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry in 94 adult outpatients with no known cardiovascular disease. We collected clinical and demographic data; and measured vascular function, PWV and BART, using standard protocols. We assessed associations of individual PFAs with log-transformed BART and PWV using linear regression. We used weighted quantile sum regression to assess effects of correlated PFA mixtures on BART and PWV. Results: Ten PFAs were measured above the limit of detection in >50% of participants. Each standard deviation increase in concentration of perfluoroheptanoic acid (PFHpA) was associated with 15% decrease in BART (95% CI: −28.5, −0.17). The weighted index of a mixture of PFAs with correlated concentrations was inversely associated with BART: each tertile increase in the weighted PFA mixture was associated with 25% lower BART, with 73% of the effect driven by PFHpA. In contrast, no PFAs or mixtures were associated with PWV. Conclusions: Serum concentration of PFHpA, a new, short-chain PFA, was associated with impaired vascular function among outpatients without CVD. Our findings support a potential adverse cardiovascular effect of newer, short-chain PFAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number113339
JournalEnvironmental Research
Volume212
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2022

Keywords

  • Brachial artery reactivity
  • Cardiovascular risk
  • Endothelial function
  • Environmental exposure
  • Perfluoroalkyl substances

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Environmental Science(all)

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