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Quantifying heterogeneity in exposure-risk relationships using exhaled breath biomarkers for 1,3-butadiene exposures.

  • Smith, Thomas J
  • Bois, Frederic Y
  • Lin, Yu-Sheng
  • Brochot, Celine
  • Micallef, Sandrine
  • Kim, David
  • Kelsey, Karl T
Published Article
Journal of breath research
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2008
DOI: 10.1088/1752-7155/2/3/037018
PMID: 21386179


The health effects of human exposure to 1,3-butadiene (BD) have been extensively studied using both epidemiological and animal toxicology approaches. However, various data and knowledge gaps remain, one of which is an understanding of the human heterogeneity in BD dosimetry. The objective of our study was to better understand the role of individual variability in delivered tissue dose. We designed a study of laboratory exposures of a relatively large group of healthy human subjects. Subjects were then exposed to 2.0 ppm BD through a face mask for 20 min, followed by 40 min of breathing clean air. Exhaled breath concentrations of BD were measured at ten time points during and after exposure, and a three-compartment physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) model was used to quantify the kinetic behavior of BD. We implemented a Markov chain Monte Carlo procedure to fit the model to the experimental data, and used global sensitivity analysis techniques to examine the sensitivity of exhaled breath concentrations to PBPK model parameters. Uptake during exposure was strongly influenced by rebreathing of exhaled BD during exposure; inclusion of rebreathing in the model simulations resulted in a 21% increase in the amount of BD retained in the body. We found that uptake ranged from 38% to 77% across individuals. We measured considerable intra-individual variability from 11 subjects who underwent the testing twice. Most of this variation stemmed from phase I metabolism of BD, which varied by as much as a factor of 2.6 within individuals. Overall, we have sought to quantify the sources of inter- and intra-individual variabilities in the pharmacokinetic behavior of BD. The results of our research may impact the current framework for biomarker and pharmacokinetic studies by improving our understanding of the sources of heterogeneity in response to chemical exposures.

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