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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Adducts of acrylonitrile with hemoglobin in nonsmokers and in participants in a smoking cessation program.

Hemoglobin adducts have been used to assess exposure to carcinogenic compounds in tobacco smoke. However, because of background levels in nonsmokers, most adducts that have been studied are not useful for monitoring low-level exposure. Bergmark [(1997) Chem. Res. Toxicol. 10, 78-84] showed that the level of adducts of acrylonitrile (AN) with N-terminal valine (ANVal) increases with increasing cigarette consumption, and the increment from 1 cigarette/day was estimated to be 8 pmol/g of globin. The background level of ANVal in nonsmokers was not quantified (<2 pmol/g of globin). The objective of this study was to determine the background level of ANVal in hemoglobin and to study the stability of this adduct in vivo. Globin samples previously analyzed by Bergmark from 17 nonsmokers and 2 smokers were reanalyzed in the study presented here. Globin samples from 7 additional nonsmokers and from 10 participants in a smoking cessation program were also analyzed. Smoking habits and exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) were assessed by interview. Only two of the participants completed the program. The levels of ANVal in these 2 subjects decreased after quitting and were at background level by 126 days. The time course of the decrease was compatible with removal of stable adducts. The levels of ANVal in the nonsmokers were 0.76 +/- 0.36 (mean +/- SD) (n = 18; reporting no exposure ETS), 1.1 +/- 0.6 (n = 3; reporting exposure to ETS), and 1. 2 +/- 0.5 pmol/g of globin (n = 3; snuff users). Thus, the adduct level in nonsmokers corresponds to the adduct increment from about 0. 1 cigarette/day. Measurements of the level of ANVal could be used to distinguish between nonsmokers and low-level smokers on an individual level, but larger groups of individuals would be required to detect a possible contribution to the background from passive smoking.[1]


  1. Adducts of acrylonitrile with hemoglobin in nonsmokers and in participants in a smoking cessation program. Pérez, H.L., Segerbäck, D., Osterman-Golkar, S. Chem. Res. Toxicol. (1999) [Pubmed]
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