Journal of proteome research

Human metabolic responses to chronic environmental polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon exposure by a metabolomic approach.

PMID 25990285


The toxicities of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) have been extensively explored due to their carcinogenic and mutagenic potency; however, little is known about the metabolic responses to chronic environmental PAH exposure among the general population. In the present study, 566 healthy volunteers were dichotomized into exposed and control groups to investigate PAH-induced perturbations in the metabolic profiles. Nine urine PAH metabolites were measured by a sensitive LC-MS/MS method to comprehensively evaluate the PAH exposure level of each individual, and the metabolic profiles were characterized via a LC-MS-based metabolomic approach. PAH exposure was correlated to its metabolic outcomes by linear and logistic regression analyses. Metabolites related to amino acid, purine, lipid, and glucuronic acid metabolism were significantly changed in the exposed group. 1-Hydroxyphenanthrene and dodecadienylcarnitine have potential as sensitive and reliable biomarkers for PAH exposure and its metabolic outcomes, respectively, in the general population. These findings generally support the hypothesis that environmental PAH exposure causes oxidative stress-related effects in humans. The current study provides new insight into the early molecular events induced by PAH exposure in the actual environment.