Decreases in serum total thyroxine (TT4) and free thyroxine (FT4) without a compensatory rise in thyroid stimulating hormone (thyrotropin or TSH) or histological changes of the thyroid have been observed in studies with perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) treatments in rats. Prior observations do not fit the clinical profile of a hypothyroid state. PFOS is known to compete with fatty acids for albumin binding, and serum free fatty acids (FFA) are known to interfere with FT4 measurement using analog methods due to competition for protein binding. Therefore, we hypothesized that measured decreases in serum FT4 by analog methods in the presence of PFOS were due to carrier protein binding interference. We compared FT4 analog assay methods with a reference method using equilibrium dialysis (ED-RIA) for FT4 measurement in rat sera in vitro and in vivo. We also measured hepatic malic enzyme mRNA transcripts and activity as a marker for hepatic thyroid hormone response. PFOS did not reduce serum TT4 and FT4 in vitro at concentrations up to 200 μM. After three daily 5 mg/kg oral doses of potassium PFOS to female rats, serum TSH and FT4 by ED-RIA were unchanged (although FT4 determined by two common analog methods was decreased), and malic enzyme was not suppressed. These data suggest that prior reports of reduced free thyroid hormone in the presence of PFOS were due to negative bias in analog methods and that short-term PFOS treatment does not suppress the physiological thyroid status in rats. A reference method such as ED-RIA should be used for determination of serum FT4 in the presence of PFOS.
- Analog method
- Equilibrium dialysis
- Negative bias
- Perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS)
- Thyroid hormones