Journal Article

Biomarkers of exposure and effect as indicators of potential carcinogenic risk arising from <i>in vivo</i> metabolism of ethylene to ethylene oxide

Vernon E. Walker, Kuen-Yuh Wu, Patricia B. Upton, Asoka Ranasinghe, Nova Scheller, Myung-Haeng Cho, Jane S. Vergnes, Thomas R. Skopek and James A. Swenberg

in Carcinogenesis

Volume 21, issue 9, pages 1661-1669
Published in print September 2000 | ISSN: 0143-3334
Published online September 2000 | e-ISSN: 1460-2180 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/carcin/21.9.1661
Biomarkers of exposure and effect as indicators of potential carcinogenic risk arising from in vivo metabolism of ethylene to ethylene oxide

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The purposes of the present study were: (i) to investigate the potential use of several biomarkers as quantitative indicators of the in vivo conversion of ethylene (ET) to ethylene oxide (EO); (ii) to produce molecular dosimetry data that might improve assessment of human risk from exogenous ET exposures. Groups (n = 7/group) of male F344 rats and B6C3F1 mice were exposed by inhalation to 0 and 3000 p.p.m. ET for 1, 2 or 4 weeks (6 h/day, 5 days/week) or to 0, 40, 1000 and 3000 p.p.m. ET for 4 weeks. N-(2-hydroxyethyl)valine (HEV), N7-(2-hydroxyethyl) guanine (N7-HEG) and Hprt mutant frequencies were assessed as potential biomarkers for determining the molecular dose of EO resulting from exogenous ET exposures of rats and mice, compared with background biomarker values. N7-HEG was quantified by gas chromatography coupled with high resolution mass spectrometry (GC–HRMS), HEV was determined by Edman degradation and GC–HRMS and Hprt mutant frequencies were measured by the T cell cloning assay. N7-HEG accumulated in DNA with repeated exposure of rodents to 3000 p.p.m. ET, reaching steady-state concentrations around 1 week of exposure in most tissues evaluated (brain, liver, lung and spleen). The dose–response curves for N7-HEG and HEV were supralinear in exposed rats and mice, indicating that metabolic activation of ET was saturated at exposures ≥1000 p.p.m. ET. Exposures of mice and rats to 200 p.p.m. EO for 4 weeks (as positive treatment controls) led to significant increases in Hprt mutant frequencies over background in splenic T cells from exposed rats and mice, however, no significant mutagenic response was observed in the Hprt gene of ET-exposed animals. Comparisons between the biomarker data for both unexposed and ET-exposed animals, the dose–response curves for the same biomarkers in EO-exposed rats and mice and the results of the rodent carcinogenicity studies of ET and EO suggest that too little EO arises from exogenous ET exposure to produce a significant mutagenic response or a carcinogenic response under standard bioassay conditions.

Keywords: EO, ethylene oxide; ET, ethylene; GC–HRMS, gas chromatography coupled with high resolution mass spectrometry; HEV, N-(2-hydroxyethyl)valine; Hprt, hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase; N7-HEG, N7-(2-hydroxyethyl)guanine; TWA, time-weighted average.

Journal Article.  8557 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Clinical Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

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