Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) exposure from the diet is a major risk factor for the development of liver cancer in people living in regions of China and Africa. Rapid methods to assess the exposure status of these individuals to genotoxic damage imparted by AFB1 will be very important for cancer prevention strategies. Serum albumin is a readily accessible target protein for AFB1 and we report here the development of an accurate and sensitive method to quantitate the major AFB1 serum albumin adduct, aflatoxin-lysine, from < 100 μl of serum by combined immunoaffinity chromatography/high-performance liquid chromatography (IAC/HPLC) with fluorescence detection. For this method, serum is digested with Pronase and the adducts are purified by monoclonal antibody IAC and quantified by HPLC. Analysis of human serum samples obtained from an exposed population revealed a highly significant correlation coefficient (up to 0.82 for male samples) between aflatoxin-lysine adduct levels and AFB1 consumption. These data suggest that aflatoxin-lysine is an excellent molecular dosimeter for exposure assessment. To determine whether the liver is the sole site of aflatoxin-albumin adduct formation, preliminary experiments with isolated perfused rat liver were done. These data showed that AFB1 metabolites covalently react not only with albumin in the hepatocyte, but also with circulating proteins in the perfusate. This suggests that a reactive aflatoxin metabolite secreted by the liver may form serum albumin adducts in circulating blood. Taken together, the analysis of aflatoxin-lysine could prove a very useful tool for epidemiological studies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research