Determination of di-n-butyl adipate (DnBA) metabolites as possible biomarkers of exposure in human urine by online-SPE-LC-MS/MS


Di-n-butyl adipate (DnBA) is an alternative to the anti-androgenic and strictly regulated di-n-butyl phthalate (DnBP) used as a cosmetic ingredient, plasticizer, and in various articles of everyday life. Hence, exposures of the general population have to be expected. Currently, biomarkers of DnBA exposure and methods for their determination are not available. Here, we describe a sensitive, rugged and precise analytical method for the determination of the DnBA monoester metabolite mono-n-butyl adipate (MnBA), as well as its potential downstream metabolites 3-hydroxy-mono-n-butyl adipate (3OH-MnBA) and 3-carboxy-mono-n-propyl adipate (3cx-MnPrA) in human urine. Glucuronic acid conjugates present in urine were deconjugated using a pure ?-glucuronidase. The metabolites were then analyzed by liquid chromatography on a C18 column with superficially porous particles coupled to electrospray ionization-triple quadrupole-tandem mass spectrometry, applying online turbulent flow chromatography for analyte enrichment and matrix depletion (online-SPE-LC-MS/MS). The metabolites were quantified using stable isotope dilution analysis with limits of quantification of 0.05 µg/L (MnBA), 0.1 µg/L (3OH-MnBA), and 0.5 µg/L (3cx-MnPrA). Method imprecision in urinary matrix was below 7% (coefficient of variation) for all analytes. Mean relative recoveries were between 93% and 107%. The suitability of the DnBA metabolites as biomarkers of exposure was demonstrated after dermal application of a commercially available sunscreen containing DnBA. Maximum concentrations were reached 6.5 h after dose (219 µg/L 3cx-MnPrA, 91 µg/L MnBA, and 3.9 µg/L 3OH-MnBA). Elimination kinetics were similar for all three metabolites. We were able to quantify 3cx-MnPrA and MnBA until 4 d after sunscreen application. In a sample set of 35 urine samples from the general German population, 3cx-MnPrA was quantified in 94% (median 2.54 µg/L, maximum 78.3 µg/L) and MnBA in 3% (median < LOQ, maximum 0.18 µg/L) of the samples. The method will be applied in future human metabolism and human biomonitoring population studies.

Authors: Ringbeck B, Bury D, Hayen H, Weiss T, Br Üning T, Koch HM
; Full Source: Journal of chromatography B, Analytical technologies in the biomedical and life sciences. 2020 Mar 15;1141:122029. doi: 10.1016/j.jchromb.2020.122029. Epub 2020 Feb 13.