Quantitation of acrolein–protein adducts: Potential biomarker of acrolein exposure

Hui Li, Jianling Wang, Bhupendra S. Kaphalia, G. A.S. Ansari, M. Firoze Khan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Acrolein, an α,β-unsaturated aldehyde, is a ubiquitous environmental toxic pollutant. Because of potential human exposure, there is a need for a sensitive, reliable, and specific method to monitor acrolein exposure. Acrolein is a potent electrophile and reacts with proteins mainly through Michael addition reaction, leading to acrolein–protein adducts (APA). The present study aimed to develop a competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) method for the quantitation of APA in biological samples. Antibody to acrolein–keyhole limpet hemocyanin adduct was raised in rabbits, and the specificity of the antibody was determined by ELISA using acrolein–albumin adduct (AAA) or native albumin. A dose-dependent response was observed with AAA, but no immunoreactivity with native albumin. Further, lack of cross-reactivity of anti-acrolein antibody with formaldehyde–, malondialdehyde–, or 4-hydroxynonenal–albumin adducts indicates its specificity for acrolein. For the competitive ELISA, 1:16,000 diluted antisera was used with varying concentrations of AAA, which provided a linear detection range between 250 and 10,000 pg. To test the efficacy of the method for possible use as a biomarker of acrolein exposure, SD rats were orally administered 1 or 7 doses of 9.2 mg/kg/d acrolein. APA levels, quantitated in the serum, showed significantly greater formation (32% and 58% after 1 and 7 doses, respectively) in acrolein-treated rats as compared to the controls. Western blot analyses of APA in the sera from acrolein-treated rats showed APA bands (especially 29, 31, and 100 kD) with greater intensity in comparison to controls, further supporting our ELISA results. These results suggest that quantitation of APA has potential to be used as biomarker of acrolein exposure and eventually for molecular dosimetry and risk assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)513-524
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Toxicology and Environmental Health - Part A
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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