State Key Laboratory of Reproductive Medicine, Institute of Toxicology, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 211166, China; Key Laboratory of Modern Toxicology of Ministry of Education, School of Public Health, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 211166, China; Center for Global Health, School of Public Health, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 211166, China. Electronic address: [Email]
Perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) are widespread and persistent chemicals in the environment, and limited data about their effects on puberty development are available. In order to explore the effects of neonatal and juvenile PFOA/PFOS exposure on puberty maturation, female rats were injected with PFOA or PFOS at 0.1, 1 and 10 mg/kg/day during postnatal day (PND) 1-5 or 26-30. The day of vaginal opening (VO) and first estrus were significantly advanced in 10 mg/kg PFOA, 1 and 10 mg/kg PFOS groups after neonatal and juvenile exposure. Besides, neonatal PFOA/PFOS exposure increased body weight and anogenital distance (AGD) in a non-dose-dependent manner. Estradiol and luteinizing hormone levels were also increased with more frequent occurrences of irregular estrous cycles in 0.1 and 1 mg/kg PFOA/PFOS exposure groups. Although no altered ovarian morphology was observed, follicles numbers were reduced in neonatal groups. Kiss1, Kiss1r and ERα mRNA expressions were downregulated after two periods' exposure in the hypothalamic anteroventral periventricular (AVPV) and arcuate (ARC) nuclei. PFOA/PFOS exposure also suppressed kisspeptin fiber intensities, especially at the high dose. In conclusion, neonatal and juvenile are critical exposure periods, during which puberty maturation may be vulnerable to environmental exposure of PFOA/PFOS, and kisspeptin system plays a key role during these processes.