HBM4EU Chromates Study: urinary metabolomics study of workers exposed to hexavalent chromium

Lucyna Kozłowska, Tiina Santonen, Radu Corneliu Duca, Lode Godderis, Karolina Jagiello, Beata Janasik, An Van Nieuwenhuyse, Katrien Poels, Tomasz Puzyn, Paul T J Scheepers, Monika Sijko, Maria João Silva, Anita Sosnowska, Susana Viegas, Jelle Verdonck, Wojciech Wąsowicz, On Behalf Of Hbm Eu Chromates Study Team, On Behalf Of Statistical Team

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Exposure to hexavalent chromium Cr(VI) may occur in several occupational activities, placing workers in many industries at risk for potential related health outcomes. Untargeted metabolomics was applied to investigate changes in metabolic pathways in response to Cr(VI) exposure. We obtained our data from a study population of 220 male workers with exposure to Cr(VI) and 102 male controls from Belgium, Finland, Poland, Portugal and the Netherlands within the HBM4EU Chromates Study. Urinary metabolite profiles were determined using liquid chromatography mass spectrometry, and differences between post-shift exposed workers and controls were analyzed using principal component analysis. Based on the first two principal components, we observed clustering by industrial chromate application, such as welding, chrome plating, and surface treatment, distinct from controls and not explained by smoking status or alcohol use. The changes in the abundancy of excreted metabolites observed in workers reflect fatty acid and monoamine neurotransmitter metabolism, oxidative modifications of amino acid residues, the excessive formation of abnormal amino acid metabolites and changes in steroid and thyrotropin-releasing hormones. The observed responses could also have resulted from work-related factors other than Cr(VI). Further targeted metabolomics studies are needed to better understand the observed modifications and further explore the suitability of urinary metabolites as early indicators of adverse effects associated with exposure to Cr(VI).

Original languageEnglish
Article number362
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 18 Apr 2022


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