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Anal Bioanal Chem. 2010 Nov;398(6):2563-72. doi: 10.1007/s00216-010-4217-3. Epub 2010 Oct 5.

Analytical methods in DNA and protein adduct analysis.

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Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira, Chemistry and Toxicology Research Unit, Mustialankatu 3, 00790 Helsinki, Finland.


DNA or protein adducts are reaction products of endogenous or exogenous chemicals and cellular macromolecules. Adducts are useful in toxicological studies and/or human biomonitoring exercises. In particular, DNA damage provides invaluable information for risk analysis. Second, metabolites or conjugates can be regarded as markers of phase II reactions though they may not give accurate information about the levels of reactive and damage-provoking reactive compounds or intermediates. Electrophiles are often short-lived molecules and therefore difficult to monitor. In contrast, adducts are often chemically stable, though their levels in biological samples are low, which makes their detection challenging. The assay of adducts is similar to the analysis of any other trace organic molecule, i.e. problems with the matrix and small amounts of analytes in samples. The (32)P-postlabelling assay is a specific method for DNA adducts but immunochemical and fluorescence-based methods have been developed which can detect adducts linked to both DNA and protein. Tandem mass spectrometry, particularly if combined with ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography, is currently the recommended detection technique; however investigators are striving to develop novel ways to achieve greater sensitivity. Standards are a prerequisite in adduct analysis, but unfortunately they are seldom commercially available.

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