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J Toxicol Environ Health. 1997 Aug 29;51(6):519-39.

Potential biomarkers of benzene exposure.

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  • 1Exxon Biomedical Sciences, Inc., Toxicology Division, East Millstone, New Jersey, USA.


Biological markers or biomarkers of exposure are indicators for the evaluation of the internal dose of a xenobiotic. Biomarkers integrate exposure from all routes and sources. This review presents a short overview of potential biomarkers of benzene exposure currently under investigation, the methodology used for their determination, and experimental findings and their usefulness and specificity in assessing exposure to benzene. Potential biomarkers of benzene exposure are benzene, benzene metabolites, and adducts formed by reactive benzene metabolites with cellular constituents. The potential biomarkers of benzene exposure described in this review are: (1) benzene, the parent hydrocarbon; (2) ring-hydroxylated urinary metabolites, phenol, catechol, hydroquinone, and 1,2,4-trihydroxybenzene; (3) trans,trans-muconic acid, a urinary ring-opened metabolite; (4) N-acetyl-S-(2,5-dihydroxyphenyl)-L-cysteine, a urinary metabolite of benzene, phenol, and hydroquinone; (5) S-phenylmercapturic acid, a glutathione-derived adduct; (6) N7-phenylguanine, a DNA adduct; and (7) S-phenylcysteine and N-phenyl-valine, hemoglobin/protein-derived adducts.

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