Impact of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) on Aquatic Animals: Immunotoxicity, Endocrine Disruption, and Beyond

A special issue of Toxics (ISSN 2305-6304). This special issue belongs to the section "Ecotoxicology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2024 | Viewed by 546

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Department of Biosciences, Food and Environmental Technologies, University of Teramo, 64100 Teramo, TE, Italy
Interests: toxicologic pathology; environmental pathology; experimental pathology; cellular pathology; ultrastructural pathology; fish pathology; histopathological biomarkers; ultrastructural biomarkers; histopathological image analysis
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Guest Editor
Associate Professor, Department of Environmental and Prevention Sciences, University of Ferrara, 44121 Ferrara, FE, Italy
Interests: aquatic ecotoxicology; emerging contaminants; fish health and diseases; fish histopathology and immunology; histological biomarkers; environmental parasitology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) are a focal point in toxicology and environmental sciences due to their profound implications for ecosystems, wildlife, and human health. Among CECs, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are particularly worrisome in aquatic environments, where they are ubiquitous, with concentrations ranging from undetectable levels to micrograms per liter, and often persistent.

Aquatic fauna consistently face PFAS exposure, potentially serving as a pathway for human contamination through the food chain. Moreover, these animals offer valuable insights into PFAS toxicology, environmental pathology, and the One Health approach. Literature data on PFAS effects have increased greatly in the last 10 years but sometimes provide conflicting indications and still leave knowledge gaps on the exact mechanisms of toxicity, the response of organisms to environmentally relevant concentrations, and the risk posed by the new generation PFAS, which are poorly investigated.

The principal objective of the Special Issue is to advance our comprehension of the health consequences of PFAS contamination in aquatic environments, especially the effects of PFAS on the immune and endocrine systems, which play a pivotal role in enabling aquatic animals to cope with environmental stressors and, ultimately, determine their overall health and fitness. This perspective offers a distinctive exploration of the intricate interplay between these systems and others, shedding light on critical aspects of ecological and individual well-being.

This Special Issue aims to ignite comprehensive discussions on the impact of PFAS on aquatic animals, with a specific focus on immunotoxicity and endocrine disruption, and to consider the wider implications of these effects on interconnected biological systems based on a multidisciplinary approach spanning toxicology, pathology, and omic disciplines.

We expect this Special Issue will be of significant interest to researchers and professionals in the fields of toxicology, ecotoxicology, environmental sciences, and public health as it addresses an urgent matter of concern with extensive repercussions for both the natural world and human well-being.

New research papers, based on natural or experimental exposure to PFAS, as well as reviews, are welcome for this Special Issue.

Prof. Dr. Maurizio Manera
Dr. Luisa Giari
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • new and old PFAS
  • animal model
  • one health
  • biomarker
  • immune system
  • endocrine system
  • toxic effects
  • in vivo and in vitro exposures

Published Papers (1 paper)

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17 pages, 4489 KiB  
Segmentation of Renal Thyroid Follicle Colloid in Common Carp: Insights into Perfluorooctanoic Acid-Induced Morphometric Alterations
by Maurizio Manera and Luisa Giari
Toxics 2024, 12(5), 369; - 17 May 2024
Viewed by 204
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a globally prevalent contaminant of concern recognised for its persistence and detrimental effects on both wildlife and humans. While PFOA has been established as a disruptor of thyroid function, limited data exist regarding its impact on thyroid morphology. The [...] Read more.
Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) is a globally prevalent contaminant of concern recognised for its persistence and detrimental effects on both wildlife and humans. While PFOA has been established as a disruptor of thyroid function, limited data exist regarding its impact on thyroid morphology. The kidney of the common carp (Cyprinus carpio) harbours numerous thyroid follicles, rendering it a valuable biomarker organ for investigating PFOA-induced thyroid alterations. Renal tissue slides, stained with the Alcian blue/PAS method, were examined from carp in three experimental groups: unexposed, exposed to 200 ng L−1, and exposed to 2 mg L−1 of PFOA over 56 days. Thyroid follicle colloids were segmented, and related morphometric parameters, including perimeter, area, and shape descriptors, were obtained. Statistical analyses revealed significant reductions in thyroid follicle colloid perimeter and area in the 200 ng L−1 PFOA group compared to the unexposed and 2 mg L−1 PFOA groups. Additionally, the fish exposed to PFOA exhibited a significantly higher follicle count compared to the unexposed fish. These findings collectively suggest that PFOA induces thyroid folliculogenesis, emphasising its impact on thyroid morphology even at an environmentally relevant concentration (200 ng L−1). Full article
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