Analysis of phenanthrene and benzo[ a ]pyrene tetraol enantiomers in human urine: Relevance to the bay region diol epoxide hypothesis of benzo[ a ]pyrene carcinogenesis and to biomarker studies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Scopus citations

Abstract

One widely accepted metabolic activation pathway of the prototypic carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) proceeds through the "bay region diol epoxide" BaP-(7R,8S)-diol-(9S,10R)- epoxide (2). However, few studies have addressed the analysis of human urinary metabolites of BaP, which result from this pathway. Phenanthrene (Phe) is structurally related to BaP, but human exposure to Phe is far greater, and its metabolites can be readily detected in urine. Thus, Phe metabolites have been proposed as biomarkers of PAH exposure and metabolic activation. Phe-tetraols in particular could be biomarkers of the diol epoxide pathway. While BaP-tetraols and Phe-tetraols have been previously quantified in human urine, no published studies have determined their enantiomeric composition. This is important because different enantiomers would result from the bay region diol epoxide and "reverse" diol epoxide pathways, the latter being associated with weak mutagenicity and carcinogenicity. We addressed this problem using chiral HPLC to separate the enantiomers of BaP-7,8,9,10-tetraol and Phe-1,2,3,4-tetraol. Urine samples from smokers were subjected to solid-phase extraction, chiral HPLC, and GC-NICI-MS/MS analysis for silylated Phe-1,2,3,4-tetraols. The results demonstrated that >96% of Phe-1,2,3,4-tetraol in smokers urine was Phe-(1S,2R,3S,4R)-tetraol (12), resulting from the "reverse" diol epoxide pathway, whereas less than 4% resulted from the "bay region diol epoxide" pathway of Phe metabolism. Urine from creosote workers was similarly analyzed for BaP-7,8,9,10-tetraol enantiomers. In contrast to the results of the Phe-tetraol analyses, 78% of BaP-7,8,9,10-tetraol in these human urine samples was BaP-(7R,8S,9R,10S)-tetraol (3) resulting from the "bay region diol epoxide" pathway of BaP metabolism. These results provide further support for the bay region diol epoxide pathway of BaP metabolism in humans and demonstrate differences in BaP and Phe metabolism, which may be important when considering Phe-tetraols as biomarkers of PAH metabolic activation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)900-908
Number of pages9
JournalChemical research in toxicology
Volume23
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 17 2010

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Analysis of phenanthrene and benzo[ a ]pyrene tetraol enantiomers in human urine: Relevance to the bay region diol epoxide hypothesis of benzo[ a ]pyrene carcinogenesis and to biomarker studies'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this