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Characterisation of the toxicological mode of action and effect-evaluation of fluorinated organochemicals in marine and estuarine organisms

Dutch title: Karakterisatie van toxicologische werkingsmechanismen en effect-evaluatie van perfluorverbindingen bij mariene en estuariene organismen
Reference no: 1173303N+1173305N
Period: October 2002 till September 2006
Status: Completed

Thesaurus term: Ecotoxicology

Institutes (2)  Top 
  • Universiteit Antwerpen; Faculteit Wetenschappen; Departement Biologie; Onderzoeksgroep Systemisch Fysiologisch en Ecotoxicologisch Onderzoek (SPHERE), more
  • Vlaamse overheid; Beleidsdomein Economie, Wetenschap en Innovatie; Fonds voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek - Vlaanderen (FWO), more, sponsor

Research investigating the environmental fate and effects of halogenated organochemicals has largely focused on brominated and chlorinated organics. The group of fluorinated organochemicals (FOCs), however, has up to now received less attention. Nevertheless, these compounds are being produced over 50 years and have a broad application spectrum in industry and households as surfactants, adhesives, medicines, fire retardants, agrochemicals, food packaging, textile, carpets, etc. A recent study has reveiled the worldwide distribution of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) in animals of various trophic levels through the entire food chain. Even in remote (arctic) areas a detectable amount of fluorinated organochemicals could be quantified in the blood and liver of wildlife. The presence of this compound has also been established in commercially available nonindustrially exposed human sera. Despite the fact that FOCs are spread worldwide in wildlife and humans, and despite their resistance to biotransformation, little precise information is known on the toxicological mode of action of perfluorinated chemicals. It has been shown that PFOS influences cell membrane integrity and that it has potent hepatic peroxisome proliferating capacities in rats, mice and freshwater fish, a phenomenon that has been intimately correlated with hepatocarcinogenesis. The main objects of this projects are on the one hand the characterisation of the distribution of PFOS and related chemicals in aquatic ecosystems in Europe. On the other hand, we will try to reveal the mode of action of these chemicals and the possible effects on marine and estuarine species. An important aspect will be the research of effects on the molecular level, using the recent developed technique of subtraction suppression hybridisation PCR (SSH-PCR). More specifically, following subjects will be included in the research: 1) Chemical characterisation: quantifying fluorinated concentrations in aquatic organisms and describing bioaccumulation capacities through the food chain 2) Differential gene expression: isolation and identification of differentially expressed genes after PFOS exposure 3) Biomarkers: influence on suborganismal endpoints (biochemical and physiological) 4) Biomonitoring: actual impact on organisms

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