Quantitative analysis of trihydroxybutyl mercapturic acid, a urinary metabolite of 1,3-butadiene, in humans

Srikanth Kotapati, Brock A. Matter, Amy L. Grant, Natalia Y. Tretyakova

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23 Scopus citations


1,3-Butadiene (BD) is a known human carcinogen present in cigarette smoke and in automobile exhaust, leading to widespread exposure of human populations. BD requires cytochrome P450-mediated metabolic activation to electrophilic species, e.g. 3,4-epoxy-1-butene (EB), hydroxymethyl vinyl ketone (HMVK), and 3,4-epoxy-1,2-diol (EBD), which form covalent adducts with DNA. EB, HMVK, and EBD can be conjugated with glutathione and ultimately excreted in urine as monohydroxybutenyl mercapturic acid (MHBMA), dihydroxybutyl mercapturic acid (DHBMA), and trihydroxybutyl mercapturic acid (THBMA), respectively, which can serve as biomarkers of BD exposure and metabolic processing. While MHBMA and DHBMA have been found in smokers and nonsmokers, THBMA has not been previously detected in humans. In the present work, an isotope dilution HPLC-ESI --MS/MS methodology was developed and employed to quantify THBMA in urine of known smokers and nonsmokers (19-27 per group). The new method has excellent sensitivity (LOQ, 1 ng/mL urine) and achieves accurate quantitation using a small sample volume (100 μL). Mean urinary THBMA concentrations in smokers and nonsmokers were found to be 21.6 and 13.7 ng/mg creatinine, respectively, suggesting that there are sources of THBMA other than exposure to tobacco smoke in humans, as is also the case for DHBMA. However, THBMA concentrations are significantly greater in urine of smokers than that of nonsmokers (p < 0.01). Furthermore, THBMA amounts in human urine declined 25-50% following smoking cessation, suggesting that smoking is an important source of this metabolite in humans. The HPLC-ESI --MS/MS methodology developed in the present work will be useful for future epidemiological studies of BD exposure and metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1516-1526
Number of pages11
JournalChemical research in toxicology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 19 2011


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