Publications by authors named "Hin Ting Wan"

11 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Characterization of PFOS toxicity on in-vivo and ex-vivo mouse pancreatic islets.

Environ Pollut 2021 Jul 26;289:117857. Epub 2021 Jul 26.

Croucher Institute for Environmental Sciences, Department of Biology, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong SAR, China. Electronic address:

Considerable human data have shown that the exposure to perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) correlates to the risk of metabolic diseases, however the underlying effects are not clearly elucidated. In this study, we investigated the impacts of PFOS treatment, using in-vivo, ex-vivo and in-vitro approaches, on pancreatic β-cell functions. Mice were oral-gavage with 1 and 5 μg PFOS/g body weight/day for 21 days. The animals showed a significant increase in liver triglycerides, accompanied by a reduction of triglycerides in blood sera and glycogen in livers and muscles. Histological examination of pancreases showed no noticeable changes in the size and number of islets from the control and treatment groups. Immunohistochemistry showed a reduction of staining intensities of insulin and the transcriptional factors (Pdx-1, islet-1) in islets of pancreatic sections from PFOS-treated groups, but no changes in the intensity of Glut2 and glucagon were noted. Transcriptomic study of isolated pancreatic islets treated ex vivo with 1 μM and 10 μM PFOS for 24 h, underlined perturbations of the insulin signaling pathways. Western blot analysis of ex-vivo PFOS-treated islets revealed a significant reduction in the expression levels of the insulin receptor, the IGF1 receptor-β, Pdk1-Akt-mTOR pathways, and Pdx-1. Using the mouse β-cells (Min-6) treated with 1 μM and 10 μM PFOS for 24 h, Western blot analysis consistently showed the PFOS-treatment inhibited Akt-pathway and reduced cellular insulin contents. Moreover, functional studies revealed the inhibitory effects of PFOS on glucose-stimulated insulin-secretion (GSIS) and the rate of ATP production. Our data support the perturbing effects of PFOS on animal metabolism and demonstrate the underlying molecular targets to impair β-cell functions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2021.117857DOI Listing
July 2021

Effects of Exposure to Perfluorooctane Sulfonate on Placental Functions.

Environ Sci Technol 2020 12 1;54(24):16050-16061. Epub 2020 Dec 1.

Croucher Institute for Environmental Sciences, Department of Biology, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon, Hong Kong SAR, China.

Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) is a metabolic-disrupting chemical. There is a strong association between maternal and cord blood PFOS concentrations, affecting metabolism in early life. However, the underlying effects have not been fully elucidated. In this study, using the maternal-fetal model, we investigated the impact of gestational PFOS exposure on the placental structure and nutrient transport. Pregnant mice were oral gavaged with PFOS (1 or 3 μg PFOS/g body weight) from gestational day (GD) 4.5 until GD 17.5. Our data showed a significant reduction in fetal body weight at high dose exposure. There were no noticeable changes in placental weights and the relative areas of junctional and labyrinth zones among the control and exposed groups. However, a placental nutrient transport assay showed a significant reduction in maternal-fetal transport of the glucose and amino acid analogues. Western blot analysis showed a significant decrease in the expression levels of placental SNAT4 upon PFOS exposure. Moreover, in the high-dose exposed group, placenta and fetal livers were found to have significantly higher corticosterone levels, a negative regulator of fetal growth. The perturbation in the placental transport function and corticosterone levels accounted for the PFOS-induced reduction of fetal body weights.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c06569DOI Listing
December 2020

Comparative Analysis of PFOS and PFOA Toxicity on Sertoli Cells.

Environ Sci Technol 2020 03 6;54(6):3465-3475. Epub 2020 Mar 6.

Croucher Institute for Environmental Sciences, Department of Biology, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong SAR, P. R. China.

Perfluoroalkyl chemicals induce male reproductive toxicity. Current evidence showed the effects of the chemical exposure on the deterioration of testicular functions, and reduction in epididymal sperm counts. Previous studies showed that PFOA and PFOS displayed a high correlation with each other in seminal plasma levels, but induced different effects on semen variables. In this study, we focused on the comparative toxicity analysis of PFOA and PFOS, using a rat primary Sertoli cell model. Our transcriptomic data showed that PFOA and PFOS treatments (40 μM) perturbed global gene expression. While PFOS induced higher toxicity in affecting cytoskeleton signaling, Sertoli cell-cell junction, and inflammation, underlined by Ingenuity pathway analysis. Immunocytochemical staining revealed that PFOS treatment (40 and 80 μM) induced truncated actin filament and disorganized bundled configuration in the cell cytoplasm. Moreover, disorganized distribution of N-cadherin (N-cad) and β-catenin (β-cat), and defragmentation of ZO-1 at the Sertoli cell-cell interface was evident. At 80 μM of PFOS, cytoplasmic distribution of N-cad, β-cat, and ZO-1 were observed. We then examined whether resveratrol, a polyphenol antioxidant, was able to protect the cells from PFOS toxicity. The pretreatment of Sertoli cells with 10 μM resveratrol prevented the formation of truncated actin filament and dis-localization of β-cat. Western blot analysis showed that Res pretreatment increased the levels of basal ES proteins (N-cad and β-cat), tight junction proteins (ZO-1 and occludin), and gap junction protein, versus control.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.0c00201DOI Listing
March 2020

Dietary Exposure to the Environmental Chemical, PFOS on the Diversity of Gut Microbiota, Associated With the Development of Metabolic Syndrome.

Front Microbiol 2018 24;9:2552. Epub 2018 Oct 24.

Croucher Institute for Environmental Sciences, Department of Biology, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong.

The gut microbiome is a dynamic ecosystem formed by thousands of diverse bacterial species. This bacterial diversity is acquired early in life and shaped over time by a combination of multiple factors, including dietary exposure to distinct nutrients and xenobiotics. Alterations of the gut microbiota composition and associated metabolic activities in the gut are linked to various immune and metabolic diseases. The microbiota could potentially interact with xenobiotics in the gut environment as a result of their board enzymatic capacities and thereby affect the bioavailability and toxicity of the xenobiotics in enterohepatic circulation. Consequently, microbiome-xenobiotic interactions might affect host health. Here, we aimed to investigate the effects of dietary perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) exposure on gut microbiota in adult mice and examine the induced changes in animal metabolic functions. In mice exposed to dietary PFOS for 7 weeks, body PFOS and lipid contents were measured, and to elucidate the effects of PFOS exposure, the metabolic functions of the animals were assessed using oral glucose-tolerance test and intraperitoneal insulin-tolerance and pyruvate-tolerance tests; moreover, on Day 50, cecal bacterial DNA was isolated and subject to 16S rDNA sequencing. Our results demonstrated that PFOS exposure caused metabolic disturbances in the animals, particularly in lipid and glucose metabolism, but did not substantially affect the diversity of gut bacterial species. However, marked modulations were detected in the abundance of metabolism-associated bacteria belonging to the phyla Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, Proteobacteria, and Cyanobacteria, including, at different taxonomic levels, , and . The results of PICRUSt analysis further indicated that PFOS exposure perturbed gut metabolism, inducing notable changes in the metabolism of amino acids (arginine, proline, lysine), methane, and a short-chain fatty acid (butanoate), all of which are metabolites widely recognized to be associated with inflammation and metabolic functions. Collectively, our study findings provide key information regarding the biological relevance of microbiome-xenobiotic interactions associated with the ecology of gut microbiota and animal energy metabolism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2018.02552DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6207688PMC
October 2018

Transcriptomic and Functional Analyses on the Effects of Dioxin on Insulin Secretion of Pancreatic Islets and β-Cells.

Environ Sci Technol 2017 Oct 21;51(19):11390-11400. Epub 2017 Sep 21.

Croucher Institute for Environmental Sciences, Partner State Key Laboratory of Environmental and Biological Analysis, Department of Biology, Hong Kong Baptist University , Hong Kong SAR, China.

In this study, transcriptomic and Ingenuity Pathway Analysis (IPA) underlined that an ex-vivo TCDD treatment (0.1 nM) stimulated insulin-release in mouse pancreatic islets via the effect on the Akt-mTOR-p70S6K, AMPK and ERK1/2 pathways. Functional studies using both ex-vivo islets and the mouse β-cell-line (Min-6) validated the stimulatory effects of TCDD (0.1 and 1 nM) on basal-insulin secretion. At 0.1 nM TCDD treatment on Min-6, Western blot analysis showed activation of ERK1/2 and decreased expression of pyruvate dehydrogenase kinase (PDK). A reduction of PDK expression is associated with an increase of pyruvate dehydrogenase flux. This observation was supported by the detection of significantly higher cellular ATP levels, an increase of glucose-stimulated-insulin-secretion (GSIS), and an inhibition of the AMPK pathway. At 1 nM TCDD treatment on Min-6, significant inhibitions of the Akt-mTOR pathway, cellular ATP production, and GSIS were evident. The experimental studies in Min-6 supported the IPA of transcriptomic data in pancreatic islets. Collectively, TCDD treatment caused an elevated basal-insulin release in both islets and β-cell cultures. Moreover, our data revealed that the modulation of the Akt-mTOR-p70S6K, AMPK and ERK1/2 pathways might be an important component of the mechanism for the TCDD-perturbing effects on ATP production in β-cells in affecting insulin secretion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.7b02830DOI Listing
October 2017

Effects of in Utero PFOS Exposure on Transcriptome, Lipidome, and Function of Mouse Testis.

Environ Sci Technol 2017 Aug 12;51(15):8782-8794. Epub 2017 Jul 12.

Partner State Key Laboratory of Environmental and Biological Analysis, Croucher Institute for Environmental Sciences, Department of Biology, Hong Kong Baptist University , Hong Kong.

Transcriptomic and LC-MS/MS-based targeted lipidomic analyses were conducted to identify the effects of in utero PFOS exposure on neonatal testes and its relation to testicular dysfunction in adult offspring. Pregnant mice were orally administered 0.3 and 3 μg PFOS/g body weight until term. Neonatal testes (P1) were collected for the detection of PFOS, and were subjected to omics study. Integrated pathway analyses using DAVID, KEGG, and IPA underlined the effects of PFOS exposure on lipid metabolism, oxidative stress and cell junction signaling in testes. LC-MS/MS analysis showed that the levels of adrenic acid and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in testes were significantly reduced in the PFOS treatment groups. A significant linear decreasing trend in eicosapentaenoic acid and DHA with PFOS concentrations was observed. Moreover, LOX-mediated 5-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acids (HETE) and 15-HETE from arachidonic acid in the testes were significantly elevated and a linear increasing trend of 15-HETE concentrations was detected with doses of PFOS. The perturbations of lipid mediators suggested that PFOS has potential negative impacts on testicular functions. Postnatal analysis of male offspring at P63 showed significant reductions in serum testosterone and epididymal sperm count. This study sheds light into the as yet unrevealed action of PFOS on lipid mediators in affecting testicular functions.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.7b02102DOI Listing
August 2017

Bisphenol A alters gut microbiome: Comparative metagenomics analysis.

Environ Pollut 2016 Nov 21;218:923-930. Epub 2016 Aug 21.

Croucher Institute for Environmental Sciences, Partner State Key Laboratory of Environmental and Biological Analysis, Department of Biology, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, China. Electronic address:

Mounting evidence has shown that an alteration of the gut microbiota is associated with diet, and plays an important role in animal health and metabolic diseases. However, little is known about the influence of environmental contaminants on the gut microbial community. Bisphenol A (BPA), which is widely used for manufacturing plastic products, has recently been classified as an environmental obesogen. Although many studies have demonstrated the metabolic-disrupting effects of BPA on liver and pancreatic functions, the possible effects of this synthetic compound on the metabolic diversity of the intestinal microbiota is unknown. Using 16S rRNA gene sequencing analysis on caecum samples of CD-1 mice, the present study aimed to test the hypothesis that dietary BPA intake may influence the gut microbiota composition and functions, an important attributing factor to development of the metabolic syndrome. A high-fat diet (HFD) and high-sucrose diet (HSD) were included as the positive controls for comparing the changes in the intestinal microbial profiles. Our results demonstrated a significant reduction of species diversity in the gut microbiota of BPA-fed mice. Alpha and beta diversity analyses showed that dietary BPA intake led to a similar gut microbial community structure as that induced by HFD and HSD in mice. In addition, comparative analysis of the microbial communities revealed that both BPA and a HFD favored the growth of Proteobacteria, a microbial marker of dysbiosis. Consistently, growth induction of the family Helicobacteraceae and reduction of the Firmicutes and Clostridia populations were observed in the mice fed BPA or a HFD. Collectively, our study highlighted that the effects of dietary BPA intake on the shift of microbial community structure were similar to those of a HFD and HSD, and revealed microbial markers for the development of diseases associated with an unstable microbiota.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.envpol.2016.08.039DOI Listing
November 2016

New insights into FAK function and regulation during spermatogenesis.

Histol Histopathol 2014 Aug 27;29(8):977-89. Epub 2014 Feb 27.

The Mary M. Wohlford Laboratory for Male Contraceptive Research, Center for Biomedical Research, Population Council, New York, USA. OR

Germ cell transport across the seminiferous epithelium during the epithelial cycle is crucial to spermatogenesis, although molecular mechanism(s) that regulate these events remain unknown. Studies have shown that spatiotemporal expression of crucial regulatory proteins during the epithelial cycle represents an efficient and physiologically important mechanism to regulate spermatogenesis without involving de novo synthesis of proteins and/or expression of genes. Herein, we critically review the role of focal adhesion kinase (FAK) in coordinating the transport of spermatids and preleptotene spermatocytes across the epithelium and the BTB, respectively, along the apical ectoplasmic specialization (ES) - blood-testis barrier - basement membrane (BM) functional axis during spermatogenesis. In the testis, p-FAK-Tyr³⁸⁷ and p-FAK-Tyr⁴⁰⁷ are spatiotemporally expressed during the epithelial cycle at the actin-rich anchoring junction known as ES, regulating cell adhesion at the Sertoli-spermatid (apical ES) and Sertoli cell-cell (basal ES) interface. Phosphorylated forms of FAK exert their effects by regulating the homeostasis of F-actin at the ES, mediated via their effects on actin polymerization so that microfilaments are efficiently re-organized, such as from their "bundled" to "de-bundled/branched" configuration and vice versa during the epithelial cycle to facilitate the transport of: (i) spermatids across the epithelium, and (ii) preleptotene spermatocytes across the BTB. In summary, p-FAK-Tyr⁴⁰⁷ and p-FAK-Tyr³⁸⁷ are important regulators of spermatogenesis which serve as molecular switches that turn "on" and "off" adhesion function at the apical ES and the basal ES/BTB, mediated via their spatiotemporal expression during the epithelial cycle. A hypothetical model depicting the role of these two molecular switches is also proposed.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4139008PMC
http://dx.doi.org/10.14670/HH-29.977DOI Listing
August 2014

Perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) perturbs male rat Sertoli cell blood-testis barrier function by affecting F-actin organization via p-FAK-Tyr(407): an in vitro study.

Endocrinology 2014 Jan 4;155(1):249-62. Epub 2013 Dec 4.

The Mary M. Wohlford Laboratory for Male Contraceptive Research (H.-T.W., D.D.M., C.Y.C.), Center for Biomedical Research, Population Council, New York, New York 10065; and Department of Biology (C.K.C.W.), Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China.

Environmental toxicants such as perfluorooctanesulfonate (PFOS) have been implicated in male reproductive dysfunction, including reduced sperm count and semen quality, in humans. However, the underlying mechanism(s) remains unknown. Herein PFOS at 10-20 μM (∼5-10 μg/mL) was found to be more potent than bisphenol A (100 μM) in perturbing the blood-testis barrier (BTB) function by disrupting the Sertoli cell tight junction-permeability barrier without detectable cytotoxicity. We also delineated the underlying molecular mechanism by which PFOS perturbed Sertoli cell BTB function using an in vitro model that mimics the BTB in vivo. First, PFOS perturbed F-actin organization in Sertoli cells, causing truncation of actin filaments at the BTB. Thus, the actin-based cytoskeleton was no longer capable of supporting the distribution and/or localization of actin-regulatory and adhesion proteins at the cell-cell interface necessary to maintain BTB integrity. Second, PFOS was found to perturb inter-Sertoli cell gap junction (GJ) communication based on a dye-transfer assay by down-regulating the expression of connexin-43, a GJ integral membrane protein. Third, phosphorylated focal adhesion kinase (FAK)-Tyr(407) was found to protect the BTB from the destructive effects of PFOS as shown in a study via an overexpression of an FAK Y407E phosphomimetic mutant. Also, transfection of Sertoli cells with an FAK-specific microRNA, miR-135b, to knock down the expression of phosphorylated FAK-Tyr(407) was found to worsen PFOS-mediated Sertoli cell tight junction disruption. In summary, PFOS-induced BTB disruption is mediated by down-regulating phosphorylated FAK-Tyr(407) and connexin-43, which in turn perturbed F-actin organization and GJ-based intercellular communication, leading to mislocalization of actin-regulatory and adhesion proteins at the BTB.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1210/en.2013-1657DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3868803PMC
January 2014

p-FAK-Tyr(397) regulates spermatid adhesion in the rat testis via its effects on F-actin organization at the ectoplasmic specialization.

Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 2013 Sep 23;305(6):E687-99. Epub 2013 Jul 23.

The Mary M. Wohlford Laboratory for Male Contraceptive Research, Center for Biomedical Research, Population Council, New York, New York;

During spermatogenesis, the molecular mechanism that confers spermatid adhesion to the Sertoli cell at the apical ectoplasmic specialization (apical ES), a testis-specific F-actin-rich adherens junction, in the rat testis remains elusive. Herein, the activated form of focal adhesion kinase (FAK), p-FAK-Tyr(397), a component of the apical ES that was expressed predominantly and stage specifically in stage VII-early stage VIII tubules, was found to be a crucial apical ES regulator. Using an FAK-Y397E phosphomimetic mutant cloned in a mammalian expression vector for its transfection vs. FAK and vector alone in adult rat testes in vivo, its overexpression was found to cause defects in spermiation. These defects in spermiation were manifested by entrapment of spermatids in the seminiferous epithelium in late stage VIII-X tubules and were mediated by a disruption on the spatiotemporal expression and/or mislocalization of actin regulatory protein actin-related protein 3, which induces branched actin polymerization, epidermal growth factor receptor pathway substrate 8 (an actin barbed end capping and bundling protein), and palladin (an actin cross-linking and bundling protein). This thus perturbed changes of F-actin organization at the apical ES to facilitate spermiation, which also led to a concomitant alteration in the distribution and upregulation of adhesion proteins nectin-2 and nectin-3 at the apical ES. As such, nectin-2 and -3 remained at the apical ES to anchor step 19 spermatids on to the epithelium, delaying spermiation. These findings illustrate a mechanistic pathway mediated by p-FAK-Tyr(397) that regulates spermatid adhesion at the apical ES in vivo.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpendo.00254.2013DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4073987PMC
September 2013

The apical ES-BTB-BM functional axis is an emerging target for toxicant-induced infertility.

Trends Mol Med 2013 Jul 2;19(7):396-405. Epub 2013 May 2.

Center for Biomedical Research, Population Council, 1230 York Ave, New York, NY 10065, USA.

Testes are sensitive to toxicants, such as cadmium and phthalates, which disrupt a local functional axis in the seminiferous epithelium known as the 'apical ectoplasmic specialization (apical ES)-blood-testis barrier (BTB)-basement membrane (BM)'. Following exposure, toxicants contact the basement membrane and activate the Sertoli cell, which perturbs its signaling function. Thus, toxicants can modulate signaling and/or cellular events at the apical ES-BTB-BM axis, perturbing spermatogenesis without entering the epithelium. Toxicants also enter the epithelium via drug transporters to potentiate their damaging effects, and downregulation of efflux transporters by toxicants impedes BTB function such that toxicants remain in the epithelium and efficiently disrupt spermatogenesis. These findings support a novel model of toxicant-induced disruption of spermatogenesis that could be interfered with using small molecules.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molmed.2013.03.006DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3699959PMC
July 2013
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