Benzo(a)pyrene diolepoxide-haemoglobin and albumin adducts at low levels of benzo(a)pyrene exposure

Roberta Pastorelli, Marco Guanci, Annalisa Cerri, Claudio Minoia, Paolo Carrer, Eva Negri, Roberto Fanelli, Luisa Airoldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A biomonitoring study was conducted to simultaneously measure individual benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) exposure in 50 office employees, not occupationally exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), using personal samplers and the formation of (+) r-7, t-8-dihyroxy-t-9,t-10-epoxy-7,8,9,10-tetrahydrobenzo(a)pyrene (BPDE) adducts to haemoglobin (BPDE-Hb) and serum albumin (BPDE-SA). The population enrolled was exposed to an average of 0.58 ± 0.46 ng BaP m-3 (mean ± SD). The concentration of BaP collected from smokers' samples was double that from non-smokers (P=0.007). BPDE adducts to Hb and SA were quantified as BaP tetrols released from hydrolysis of macromolecules and measured by high-resolution gas chromatography-negative ion chemical ionization-mass spectrometry. BPDE-Hb adducts were detected in 16% of the population and BPDE-SA adducts in 28%. Smoking did not affect adduct formation. When BaP personal monitoring data were used as the criterion of exposure, no correlation was found with the presence and the levels of BPDE-Hb and BPDE-SA adducts. Undetected sources of PAH, such as the diet, might markedly alter the exposure profile depicted by individual air sampling and affect the frequency and levels of protein biomarkers. This is the first comparative analysis of BPDE-Hb and BPDE-SA adducts, providing reference values for these biomarkers in a general urban population. However it is difficult to establish which biomarkers would be the more relevant in assessing low BaP exposure, due to undetectable factors such as dietary PAHs, that might have influenced the results to some degree.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-251
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2000


  • Albumin
  • Benzo(a)pyrene diolepoxide adducts
  • Haemoglobin
  • Urban population

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Toxicology


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