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Protein adducts as dosimeters of human exposure to styrene, styrene-7,8-oxide, and benzene.
Toxicol Lett 1999 Sep; 108(2-3):117-126
Cysteinyl adducts of hemoglobin (Hb) and albumin (Alb) formed via reactions with reactive species were measured in 48 subjects exposed to styrene (0.24-55.2 ppm) and to styrene-7,8-oxide (SO) (2.65-107 ppb) in a factory producing boats in the USA. Hb and Alb adducts were also investigated among 88 workers exposed to benzene (0-138 ppm) in several Chinese factories. The particular adducts were S-(2-hydroxy-1-phenylethyl) cysteine, from reactions of SO with Alb (designated SO-Alb), and S-phenylcysteine, from reactions of the CYP450 benzene metabolite, benzene oxide (BO), with Hb and Alb (designated BO-Hb and BO-Alb, respectively). The relationships between adduct levels and exposures were investigated in both studies. The estimated slopes varied considerably among the particular combinations of adduct and agent to which the workers were exposed, ranging from 0.815 pmol BO-Hb/g Hb per ppm benzene to 24400 pmol SO-Alb/g Alb per ppm SO. We used these estimated slopes, along with kinetic constants, to predict the systemic doses of SO and BO in humans per mg of styrene, SO or benzene per kg body weight, under certain assumptions. Using RX to signify the particular electrophile (SO or BO) the doses of RX to the blood per unit of dose varied between 2.21 and 4110 nM RX-h/mg agent per kg b.w. The dose of RX to the blood arising from inhalation of SO was almost 2000 times that of styrene (i.e. 4110 vs. 2.21 nM RX/mg agent per kg b.w.) and 430-781 times that of benzene (i.e. 4110 vs. 5.26-9.55 nM RX/mg agent per kg b.w.), depending upon the study. Comparable estimates of the blood dose of BO were obtained from adducts of Hb and Alb and two independent studies of BO-Alb yielded similar dose estimates. These results point to the utility of protein adducts as dosimeters of reactive electrophilic species in occupational studies. Finally, significant levels of background adducts of SO and BO with Hb and Alb were observed among workers, among control subjects and in commercial human proteins. Levels of these background adducts were too great to have arisen from non-occupational exposures to styrene or benzene or from cigarette smoking.
Aromatic-hydrocarbons; Organic-solvents; Chemical-binding; Hemoproteins; Biological-monitoring; Air-samples; Blood-tests
School of Public Health, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill 27599-7400
Issue of Publication
University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, California
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division