Perfluorooctanoic acid stimulated mitochondrial biogenesis and gene transcription in rats

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), used in the production of non-stick surface compounds, exhibits a worldwide distribution in the serum of humans and wildlife. In rodents PFOA transactivates PPARα and PPARγ nuclear receptors and increases mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) copy number, which may be critical to the altered metabolic state of affected animals. A key regulator of mitochondrial biogenesis and transcription of mitochondrial genes is the PPARγ coactivator-1α (Pgc-1α) protein. The purpose of this study was to determine if Pgc-1α is implicated in the stimulation of mitochondrial biogenesis that occurs following the treatment of rats with PFOA. Livers from adult male Sprague-Dawley rats that received a 30 mg/kg daily oral dose of PFOA for 28 days were used for all experiments. Analysis of mitochondrial replication and transcription was performed by real time PCR, and proteins were detected using western blotting. PFOA treatment caused a transcriptional activation of the mitochondrial biogenesis pathway leading to a doubling of mtDNA copy number. Further, transcription of OXPHOS genes encoded by mtDNA was 3-4 times greater than that of nuclear encoded genes, suggestive of a preferential induction of mtDNA transcription. Western blot analysis revealed an increase in Pgc-1α, unchanged Tfam and decreased Cox II and Cox IV subunit protein expression. We conclude that PFOA treatment in rats induces mitochondrial biogenesis at the transcriptional level with a preferential stimulation of mtDNA transcription and that this occurs by way of activation of the Pgc-1α pathway. Implication of the Pgc-1α pathway is consistent with PPARγ transactivation by PFOA and reveals new understanding and possibly new critical targets for assessing or averting the associated metabolic disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-15
Number of pages6
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Oct 1 2009


  • Mitochondria
  • Mitochondrial biogenesis
  • PFOA
  • PGC-1α
  • PPAR
  • Perfluorinated chemicals

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Perfluorooctanoic acid stimulated mitochondrial biogenesis and gene transcription in rats'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this