Global Metabolomic Profiling Reveals an Association of Metal Fume Exposure and Plasma Unsaturated Fatty Acids
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CitationWei, Yongyue, Zhaoxi Wang, Chiung-yu Chang, Tianteng Fan, Li Su, Feng Chen, and David C. Christiani. 2013. “Global Metabolomic Profiling Reveals an Association of Metal Fume Exposure and Plasma Unsaturated Fatty Acids.” PLoS ONE 8 (10): e77413. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0077413. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0077413.
AbstractBackground: Welding-associated air pollutants negatively affect the health of exposed workers; however, their molecular mechanisms in causing disease remain largely unclear. Few studies have systematically investigated the systemic toxic effects of welding fumes on humans. Objectives: To explore the effects of welding fumes on the plasma metabolome, and to identify biomarkers for risk assessment of welding fume exposure. Methods: The two-stage, self-controlled exploratory study included 11 boilermakers from a 2011 discovery panel and 8 boilermakers from a 2012 validation panel. Plasma samples were collected pre- and post-welding fume exposure and analyzed by chromatography/mass spectrometry. Results: Eicosapentaenoic or docosapentaenoic acid metabolic changes post-welding were significantly associated with particulate (PM2.5) exposure (p<0.05). The combined analysis by linear mixed-effects model showed that exposure was associated with a statistically significant decline in metabolite change of eicosapentaenoic acid [(95% CI) = −0.013(−0.022∼−0.004); p = 0.005], docosapentaenoic acid n3 [(95% CI) = −0.010(−0.018∼−0.002); p = 0.017], and docosapentaenoic acid n6 [(95% CI) = −0.007(−0.013∼−0.001); p = 0.021]. Pathway analysis identified an association of the unsaturated fatty acid pathway with exposure (pStudy−2011 = 0.025; pStudy−2012 = 0.021; pCombined = 0.009). The functional network built by these fatty acids and their interactive genes contained significant enrichment of genes associated with various diseases, including neoplasms, cardiovascular diseases, and lipid metabolism disorders. Conclusions: High-dose exposure of metal welding fumes decreases unsaturated fatty acids with an exposure-response relationship. This alteration in fatty acids is a potential biological mediator and biomarker for exposure-related health disorders.
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