A hemoglobin adduct as a biomarker for the internal exposure to the rodent carcinogen furfuryl alcohol.
Furfuryl alcohol is a common food contaminant, which is formed by acid- and heat-catalyzed degradation of fructose and glucose. Its carcinogenic effect in rodents originates most likely from sulfotransferase (SULT)-catalyzed conversion into the mutagenic sulfate ester 2-sulfoxymethylfuran. In this study, a protein adduct biomarker was sought for the medium-term internal exposure to furfuryl alcohol. A UPLC-MS/MS screening showed that the adduct N-((furan-2-yl)methyl)-Val (FFA-Val) at the N-terminus of hemoglobin is a valid target analyte. The Val cleavage by fluorescein isothiocyanate-mediated Edman degradation yielded 3-fluorescein-1-(furan-2-ylmethyl)-5-(propan-2-yl)-2-thioxoimidazolidin-4-one (FFA-Val-FTH), which was characterized by 1H and 13C NMR spectroscopy. An isotope-dilution method for the quantification of FFA-Val-FTH by UPLC-MS/MS was developed. It was used to study the adduct formation in furfuryl alcohol-treated FVB/N mice and the influence of ethanol and the alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) inhibitor 4-methylpyrazole on the adduct levels. The administration of 400 mg/kg body weight furfuryl alcohol alone led to 12.5 and 36.7 pmol FFA-Val/g Hb in blood samples of male and female animals, respectively. The co-administration of 1.6 g ethanol/kg body weight increased FFA-Val levels by 1.4-fold in males and by 1.5-fold in females. The co-administration of 100 mg 4-methylpyrazole/kg body weight had a similar effect on the adduct levels. A high correlation was observed between adduct levels in hemoglobin and in hepatic DNA samples determined in the same animal experiment. This indicated that FFA-Val is a valid biomarker for the internal exposure to 2-sulfoxymethylfuran, which may be suitable to monitor furfuryl alcohol exposure also in humans.
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