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Using a high-resolution mass spectrometry-based metabolomics strategy for comprehensively screening and identifying biomarkers of phthalate exposure: Method development and application

Hsu, Jing-Fang, Tien, Chien-Ping, Shih, Chia-Lung, Liao, Pao-Mei, Wong, Hoi Ieng, Liao, Pao-Chi
Environment international 2019 v.128 pp. 261-270
biomarkers, biotransformation, chemical structure, data collection, discriminant analysis, laboratory animals, least squares, mass spectrometry, metabolomics, phthalates, plasticizers, rats, screening, urine
Di-(2-propylheptyl) phthalate (DPHP) is an alternative plasticizer that can replace other phthalates currently being scrutinized, and its use and production volumes are increasing. This study aimed to develop a high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS)-based metabolomics strategy to comprehensively screen urinary biomarkers of DPHP exposure and filter out potentially useful DPHP exposure markers for human exposure assessments. This strategy included three stages: screening of biomarkers, verification of dose-response relationships in laboratory animals, and application in human subjects. The multivariate data analysis method known as orthogonal partial least-squares discriminant analysis (OPLS-DA) was used to screen and find meaningful signals in an MS dataset generated from urine samples collected from DPHP-administered rats. Thirty-six MS signals were verified as exposure marker candidates by assessing dose-response relationships in an animal feeding study. A biotransformation product of DPHP, mono-(2-propyl-7-dihydroxy-heptyl) phthalate, was suggested as a DPHP exposure marker for general human exposure assessments after the human application study and chemical structure identification. Three previously oxidized DPHP biotransformation products might be suitable for human exposure assessments in high-level exposure groups but not in the general population due to their low sensitivity.