Alterations of the normal gut microbiota can cause various human health concerns. Environmental chemicals are one of the drivers of such disturbances. The aim of our study was to examine the effects of exposure to perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)—specifically, perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and 2,3,3,3-tetrafluoro-2-(heptafluoropropoxy) propanoic acid (GenX)—on the microbiome of the small intestine and colon, as well as on liver metabolism. Male CD-1 mice were exposed to PFOS and GenX in different concentrations and compared to controls. GenX and PFOS were found to have different effects on the bacterial community in both the small intestine and colon based on 16S rRNA profiles. High GenX doses predominantly led to increases in the abundance of Clostridium sensu stricto, Alistipes, and Ruminococcus, while PFOS generally altered Lactobacillus, Limosilactobacillus, Parabacteroides, Staphylococcus, and Ligilactobacillus. These treatments were associated with alterations in several important microbial metabolic pathways in both the small intestine and colon. Untargeted LC-MS/MS metabolomic analysis of the liver, small intestine, and colon yielded a set of compounds significantly altered by PFOS and GenX. In the liver, these metabolites were associated with the important host metabolic pathways implicated in the synthesis of lipids, steroidogenesis, and in the metabolism of amino acids, nitrogen, and bile acids. Collectively, our results suggest that PFOS and GenX exposure can cause major perturbations in the gastrointestinal tract, aggravating microbiome toxicity, hepatotoxicity, and metabolic disorders.
- gut microbiota–host metabolome homeostasis
- small intestine
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis
- Chemical Health and Safety