Article: a PhD thesis.
Biological monitoring of chemical exposure : toxicokinetic differences due to age and sex
Université de Lausanne, Faculté de biologie et médecine
Institut universitaire romand de Santé au Travail - Lausanne
Number of pages
Human biomonitoring is a widely used method in the assessment of occupational exposure to chemical substances and recommended biological limits are published periodically for interpretation and decision-making. However, it is increasingly recognized that a large variability is associated with biological monitoring, making interpretation less efficient than assumed. In order to improve the applicability of biological monitoring, specific factors responsible for this variability should be identified and their contribution quantified. Among these factors, age and sex are easily identifiable, and present knowledge about pharmaceutical chemicals suggests that they play an important role on the toxicokinetics of occupational chemical agents, and therefore on the biological monitoring results.The aim of the present research project was to assess the influence of age and sex on biological indicators corresponding to organic solvents. This has been done experimentally and by toxicokinetic computer simulation. Another purpose was to explore the effect of selected CYP2E1 polymorphisms on the toxicokinetic profile.Age differences were identified by numerical simulations using a general toxicokinetic model from a previous study which was applied to 14 chemicals, representing 21 specific biological entities, with, among others, toluene, phenol, lead and mercury. These models were runn with the modified parameters, indicating in some cases important differences due to age. The expected changes are mostly of the order of 10-20 %, but differences up to 50 % were observed in some cases. These differences appear to depend on the chemical and on the biological entity considered.Sex differences were quantified by controlled human exposures, which were carried out in a 12 m3 exposure chamber for three organic solvents separately: methyl ethyl ketone, 1-methoxy-2-propanol and 1,1,1-trichloroethane. The human volunteer groups were composed 12 of ten young men and fifteen young women, the latter subdivided into those with and without hormonal contraceptive. They were exposed during six hours at rest and at half of the threshold limit value. The kinetics of the parent compounds (organic volatiles) and their metabolite(s) were followed in blood, urine and expired air over time. Analyses of the solvent and their metabolites were performed by using headspace gas chromatography, CYP2E1 genotypes by using PCR-based RFLP methods. Experimental data were used to calibrate the toxicokinetic models developed for the three solvents. The results obtained for the different biomarkers of exposure mainly showed an effect on the urinary levels of several biomarkers among women due to the use of hormonal contraceptive, with an increase of about 50 % in the metabolism rate. The results also showed a difference due to the genotype CYP2E1*6, when exposed to methyl ethyl ketone, with a tendency to increase CYP2E1 activity when volunteers were carriers of the mutant allele. Simulations showed that it is possible to use simple toxicokinetic tools in order to predict internal exposure when exposed to organic solvents. Our study suggests that not only physiological differences but also exogenous sex hormones could influence CYP2E1 enzyme activity. The variability among the urinary biological indicators levels gives evidence of an interindividual susceptibility, an aspect that should have its place in the approaches for setting limits of occupational exposure.
Environmental Monitoring , Solvents , Biological Markers , Adult , Sex Factors , Models, Theoretical , Pharmacokinetics
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