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Exploration of potential biomarkers and related biological pathways for PCB exposure in maternal and cord serum: A pilot birth cohort study in Chiba, Japan

Eguchi, Akifumi, Sakurai, Kenichi, Watanabe, Masahiro, Mori, Chisato
Environment international 2017
adverse effects, amino acid metabolism, biochemical pathways, biomarkers, biosynthesis, blood serum, children, cohort studies, ethanolamine, fetus, glutathione, humans, hydrophilicity, metabolites, metabolome, metabolomics, models, polychlorinated biphenyls, pregnant women, tandem mass spectrometry, ubiquinones, umbilical cord, Japan, United States
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) have been associated with adverse human reproductive and fetal developmental measures or outcomes because of their endocrine-disrupting effects; however, the biological mechanisms of adverse effects of PCB exposure in humans are not currently well established. In this study, we aimed to identify the biological pathways and potential biomarkers of PCB exposure in maternal and umbilical cord serum using a hydrophilic interaction chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (HILIC-MS/MS) metabolomics platform. The median concentration of total PCBs in maternal (n=93) and cord serum (n=93) were 350 and 70pgg−1 wet wt, respectively. PCB levels in maternal and fetal serum from the Chiba Study of Mother and Children's Health (C-MACH) cohort are comparable to those of earlier cohort studies conducted in Japan, the USA, and European countries.We used the random forest model with the metabolome profile to predict exposure levels of PCB (first quartile [Q1] and fourth quartile [Q4]) for pregnant women and fetuses. In the prediction model for classification of Q1 versus Q4 (area-under-curve [AUC]: pregnant women=0.812 and fetuses=0.919), citraconic acid level in maternal serum and ethanolamine, p-hydroxybenzoate, and purine levels in cord serum had >0.70 AUC values. These candidate biomarkers and metabolite included in composited models were related to glutathione and amino acid metabolism in maternal serum and the amino acid metabolism and ubiquinone and other terpenoid-quinone biosynthesis in cord serum (FDR <0.10), indicating disruption of metabolic pathways by PCB exposure in pregnant women and fetuses. These results showed that metabolome analysis might be useful to explore potential biomarkers and related biological pathways for PCB exposure. Thus, more detailed studies are needed to verify sensitivity of the biomarkers and clarify the biochemical changes resulting from PCB exposure.