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Biomarkers. 2006 Jan-Feb;11(1):14-27.

Variability of albumin adducts of 1,4-benzoquinone, a toxic metabolite of benzene, in human volunteers.

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Department of Environmental Sciences and Engineering, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


A putative haematotoxic and leukaemogenic metabolite of benzene, 1,4-benzoquinone (1,4-BQ), reacts rapidly with macromolecules. The authors previously characterized levels of the albumin (Alb) adduct (1,4-BQ-Alb) of this reactive species in populations of workers exposed to benzene. Since high levels of 1,4-BQ-Alb were also measured in unexposed workers from those investigations, the current study was initiated to determine potential sources of 1,4-BQ in the general population. A single blood sample was collected from 191 healthy subjects from the Research Triangle area, NC, USA, to determine the baseline 1,4-BQ-Alb levels and contributing sources. The median 1,4-BQ-Alb at baseline was 550?pmol?g(-1) Alb (interquartile range 435-814?pmol?g(-1)). A second blood sample was collected approximately 3 months later from a subgroup of 33 subjects to estimate the within- and between-person variation in 1,4-BQ-Alb. Standardized questionnaires were administered to collect information about demographic, dietary and lifestyle factors. Multiple linear regression models identified several significant contributors to 1,4-BQ-Alb levels, including gender, body mass index (BMI), the gender-BMI interaction, automobile refuelling, smoking status, and consumption of fruit and the artificial sweetener, aspartame. The authors predicted that these background levels of 1,4-BQ-Alb were equivalent to occupational exposures between 1 and 3 parts per million of benzene. Mixed effects linear models indicated that the random variation in adduct levels was about equally divided between and within subjects. The observations indicate that levels of 1,4-BQ-Alb cover a wide range in the general population, and they support the hypotheses that demographic, diet and lifestyle factors are contributing sources.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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