Sensitive biomarker of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs): Urinary 1-hydroxyprene glucuronide in relation to smoking and low ambient levels of exposure

Y. Hu, Z. Zhou, X. Xue, X. Li, J. Fu, B. Cohen, A. A. Melikian, M. Desai, M. S. Tang, X. Huang, N. Roy, J. Sun, P. Nan, Q. Qu

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The study was conducted in a Chinese population with occupational or environmental exposures to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). A total of 106 subjects were recruited from coke-oven workers (workers), residents in a metropolitan area (residents) and suburban gardeners (gardeners). All subjects were monitored twice for their personal exposures to PAHs. The biological samples were collected for measurements of 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OHP) and cotinine in urine. The geometric means of personal exposure levels of pyrene, benz(a)anthracene (BaA) and benzo(a)pyrene (BaP) in workers were 1.470, 0.978 and 0.805 μg m-3, respectively. The corresponding levels in residents were 0.050, 0.034 and 0.025 μg -3 and those in gardeners were 0.011, 0.020 and 0.008 μg m-3, respectively. The conjugate of 1-OHP with glucuronide (1-OHP-G) is the predominant form of pyrene metabolite in urine and it showed strong associations with exposures not only to pyrene, but also to BaA, BaP and total PAHs. Most importantly, a significant difference in 1-OHP-G was even detected between the subgroups with exposures to BaP at <0.010 and >0.010 but <0.020 μg m-3, suggesting that 1-OHP-G is a good marker that can be used for the risk assessment of BaP exposure at levels currently encountered in ambient air. Furthermore, multiple regression analyses of 1-OHP-G on PAHs exposure indicated that cigarette smoke was a major confounding factor and should be considered and adjusted for while using 1-OHP to estimate PAHs exposure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)306-318
Number of pages13
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1 2006



  • 1-hydroxypyrene
  • Biomarkers
  • Environmental exposure
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
  • Urinary metabolites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis

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