Degree of alkylation of macromolecules in vivo from variable exposure

Mutat Res. 1992 Dec 16;284(2):297-306. doi: 10.1016/0027-5107(92)90014-s.


Measurements of adducts formed with blood proteins, particularly haemoglobin, are increasingly being used to monitor human exposures to genotoxic chemicals. Information about the relationships between levels of genotoxic chemicals in the environment, e.g., concentration in the air, and levels of protein adducts in the blood is particularly important in setting safety standards and assessing risks. This paper describes the relationships between level of exposure to alkylating agents and level of haemoglobin adducts, considering the zero-order kinetics of the disappearance of these adducts. For comparison the corresponding relationship for adducts to macromolecules subjected to turnover, with first-order kinetics of disappearance, is described. For chemically stable and unstable adducts different exposure situations are considered: acute, chronic, intermittent and varying exposure levels. It is shown how an optimum solution of the problem of establishing the relationship between long-term exposure at varying levels (e.g., in work environments) and adduct level can be reached. Through mathematical derivations, which are given, expressions applicable to various exposure patterns are obtained and presented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Alkylation*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Environmental Exposure
  • Hemoglobins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Macromolecular Substances*
  • Models, Theoretical*
  • Time Factors


  • Hemoglobins
  • Macromolecular Substances