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Comparison of in vitro cytotoxicity, estrogenicity and anti-estrogenicity of triclosan, perfluorooctane sulfonate and perfluorooctanoic acid

Author(s): Henry, N.D.; P.A. Fair


Publication Type: Journal Article

Journal Title: Journal of Applied Toxicology

Date of Publication: 2013

Reference Information: 33(4): 265-272

Keywords: triclosan; PFOS; PFOA; ESCREEN; MCF-7 BOS cells; estrogenicity; anti-estrogenicity

Abstract: Concern with increasing levels of emerging contaminants exists on a global scale. Three commonly observed emerging environmental contaminants: triclosan (2,4,4-trichloro-2’-hydroxydiphenyl ether), a synthetic, broad-spectrum antibacterial agent, and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), used stain and water resistant treatments, have become distributed ubiquitously across ecosystems and have been detected in wildlife and humans. MCF-7 BOS human breast cancer cells were used to investigate the potential for cytotoxicity, estrogenicity, and anti-estrogenicity of these three compounds at environmentally relevant concentrations using the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-5-(3-carboxymethoxyphenyl)-2-(4-sulfophenyl)-2H-tetrazolium, inner salt assay (MTS) and the E-SCREEN bioassay. The doses used ranged from 0.002-200 µg/ml for triclosan and 0.03-30 µg/ml for PFOS and PFOA. Quantitative results from the MTS assay revealed no significant cytotoxicity at lower concentrations for any of the test compounds; however, both triclosan and PFOA were cytotoxic at the highest concentrations examined (100-200 µg/ml and 30 µg/ml, respectively), while PFOS showed no significant cytotoxicity at any of the concentrations tested. Positive estrogenic responses (p < 0.05) were elicited from the E-SCREEN at all concentrations examined for triclosan and PFOA and at 30 µg/ml for PFOS. Further, significant anti-estrogenic activity (p < 0.05) was detected for all compounds tested at all concentrations when cells were co-exposed with 10-9 M 17-ß estradiol (E2). The overall results demonstrated that triclosan, PFOS, and PFOA have estrogenic activities and that co-exposure to contaminants and E2 produced anti-estrogenic effects. Each of these compounds could provide a source of xenoestrogens to humans and wildlife in the environment.