Metabonomic analysis of serum of workers occupationally exposed to arsenic, cadmium and lead for biomarker research: A preliminary study

I. Dudka, B. Kossowska, H. Senhadri, R. Latajka, J. Hajek, R. Andrzejak, J. Antonowicz-Juchniewicz, R. Gancarz
Environment International
Published while none of the authors were employed at the CMM


Environmental metabonomics is the application of metabonomics to characterize the interactions of organisms with their environment. Metabolic profiling is an exciting addition to the armory of the epidemiologist for the
discovery of new disease risk biomarkers and diagnostics. This work is a continuation of research searching for preclinical serum markers in a group of 389 healthy smelter workers exposed to lead, cadmium and arsenic. Changes in the metabolic profiles were studied using Proton Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy on pooled serum samples from both the metal exposed and control groups. These multivariate metabonomic datasets were analyzedwith Principal Component Analysis and Partial Least Squares Discriminant Analysis. Analysis of metabolic profiles of people exposed to heavy metals suggests energy metabolism disturbance induced by heavy metals. Changes in lipid fraction (very-low-density lipoprotein — VLDL, low-density lipoprotein — LDL), unsaturated lipids and in the level of amino acids suggest perturbation of the metabolism of lipids and amino acids. This study illustrated the high reliability of NMR-based metabonomic profiling on the study of the biochemical effects induced by the mixture of heavy metals. This approach is capable of identifying intermediate biomarkers of response to toxicants at environmental/occupational concentrations, paving theway to its use in a monitoring of smelter workers exposed to low doses of lead, cadmium and arsenic