Human & experimental toxicology

Is hair analysis for dialkyl phosphate metabolites a suitable biomarker for assessing past acute exposure to organophosphate pesticides?

PMID 21427137


In the present paper, the possibility to use dialkyl phosphate metabolites (DAPs) hair segmental analysis as a biomarker of past acute exposure to organophosphates is examined. Hair samples of four acute poisoning survivors were collected and segmental hair analysis was performed. The total hair samples were divided to 1 cm segments and analysed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) for the presence of four DAP metabolites, dimethyl phosphate (DMP), diethyl phosphate (DEP), diethyl thiophosphate (DETP) and diethyl dithiophosphate (DEDTP). Results were examined under the light of pesticide type and time of hair sample collection. Although DAPs were detected all along the hair shaft, higher concentrations (peaks) were detected in the segments proximate to the suicide period. It was also observed that the elevated concentrations of the present metabolites corresponded to the ones produced by the ingested parent compound. Conclusively, measurements of DAPs in the appropriate hair segments of OP-poisoned patients can be used for assessing past acute exposure to organophosphates in certain cases.