Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) is a persistent environmental chemical whose biological effects are mediated by multiple mechanisms. Recent evidence suggests that the gut microbiome may be directly impacted by and/or alter the fate and effects of environmental chemicals in the host. Thus, the aim of this study was to determine whether PFOS influences the gut microbiome and its metabolism, and the host metabolome. Four groups of male C57BL/6 J mice were fed a diet with or without 0.003 %, 0.006 %, or 0.012 % PFOS, respectively. 16S rRNA gene sequencing, metabolomic, and molecular analyses were used to examine the gut microbiota of mice after dietary PFOS exposure. Dietary PFOS exposure caused a marked change in the gut microbiome compared to controls. Dietary PFOS also caused dose-dependent changes in hepatic metabolic pathways including those involved in lipid metabolism, oxidative stress, inflammation, TCA cycle, glucose, and amino acid metabolism. Changes in the metabolome correlated with changes in genes that regulate these pathways. Integrative analyses also demonstrated a strong correlation between the alterations in microbiota composition and host metabolic profiles induced by PFOS. Further, using isolated mouse cecal contents, PFOS exposure directly affected the gut microbiota metabolism. Results from these studies demonstrate that the molecular and biochemical changes induced by PFOS are mediated in part by the gut microbiome, which alters gene expression and the host metabolome in mice.
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