Perfluorooctanoic acid is a ligand for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPARα). Ammonium perfluorooctanoate (APFO) at 0.1 and 0.3 mg/kg doses activated mouse PPARα, but not human PPARα. This study aimed to clarify whether milligram-order APFO can activate human PPARα, and the receptor is involved in APFO-induced chronic hepatic damage. Male Sv/129 wild-type (mPPARα), Pparα-null, and humanized PPARα (hPPARα) mice (8 weeks old) were divided into three groups. The first was treated with water and the other two with 1.0 and 5.0 mg/kg APFO for 6 weeks, orally, respectively. Both doses activated mouse and human PPARα to a similar or lower degree in the latter. APFO dose dependently increased hepatic triglyceride levels in Pparα-null and hPPARα mice, but conversely decreased those in mPPARα ones. APFO-induced hepatic damage differed markedly among the three genotyped groups: single-cell necrosis was observed in all genotyped mice; inflammatory cells and macrovesicular steatosis only in Pparα-null mice; and microvesicular steatosis and hydropic degenerations in hPPARα and Pparα-null mice. The molecular mechanism underlying these differences may be attributable to those of gene expressions involved in lipid homeostasis (PPARα, β- and ω-oxidation enzymes, and diacylglycerol acyltransferases) and uncoupling protein 2. Thus, milligram-order APFO activated both mouse and human PPARα in a different manner, which may reflect histopathologically different types of hepatic damage.
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