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Potential Metabolic Activation of a Representative C2-Alkylated Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbon 6‑Ethylchrysene Associated with the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in Human Hepatoma (HepG2) Cells

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journal contribution
posted on 07.04.2016, 00:00 by Meng Huang, Clementina Mesaros, Suhong Zhang, Ian A. Blair, Trevor M. Penning
Exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) is the major human health hazard associated with the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. C2-Chrysenes are representative PAHs present in crude oil and could contaminate the food chain. We describe the metabolism of a C2-chrysene regioisomer, 6-ethylchrysene (6-EC), in human HepG2 cells. The structures of the metabolites were identified by HPLC-UV-fluorescence detection and LC-MS/MS. 6-EC-tetraol isomers were identified as signature metabolites of the diol-epoxide pathway. O-Monomethyl-O-monosulfonated-6-EC-catechol, its monohydroxy products, and N-acetyl-l-cysteine­(NAC)-6-EC-ortho-quinone were discovered as signature metabolites of the ortho-quinone pathway. Potential dual metabolic activation of 6-EC involving the formation of bis-electrophiles, i.e., a mono-diol-epoxide and a mono-ortho-quinone within the same structure, bis-diol-epoxides, and bis-ortho-quinones was observed as well. The identification of 6-EC-tetraol, O-monomethyl-O-monosulfonated-6-EC-catechol, its monohydroxy products, and NAC-6-EC-ortho-quinone supports potential metabolic activation of 6-EC by P450 and AKR enzymes followed by metabolic detoxification of the ortho-quinone through interception of its redox cycling capability by catechol-O-methyltransferase and sulfotransferase enzymes. The tetraols and catechol conjugates could be used as biomarkers of human exposure to 6-EC resulting from oil spills.