Carbofuran poisoning detected by mass spectrometry of butyrylcholinesterase adduct in human serum

He Li, Ivan Ricordel, Larry Tong, Lawrence M. Schopfer, Frédéric Baud, Bruno Mégarbane, Eric Maury, Patrick Masson, Oksana Lockridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Scopus citations

Abstract

Carbofuran is a pesticide whose acute toxicity is due to inhibition of acetylcholinesterase. Butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) in plasma is inhibited by carbofuran and serves as a biomarker of poisoning by carbofuran. The goal was to develop a method to positively identify poisoning by carbofuran. Sera from an attempted murder and an attempted suicide were analyzed for the presence of carbofuran adducts on BChE. The BChE from 1 ml of serum was rapidly purified on a 0.2 ml procainamide-Sepharose column. Speed was essential because the carbofuran-BChE adduct decarbamylates with a half-life of about 2 h. The partially purified BChE was boiled to denature the protein, thus stopping decarbamylation and making the protein vulnerable to digestion with trypsin. The labeled peptide was partially purified by HPLC before analysis by LC/MS/MS in the multiple reaction monitoring mode on the QTRAP 2000 mass spectrometer. Carbofuran was found to be covalently bound to Ser 198 of human BChE in serum samples from two poisoning cases. Multiple reaction monitoring triggered MS/MS spectra positively identified the carbofuran-BChE adduct. In conclusion a mass spectrometry method to identify carbofuran poisoning in humans has been developed. The method uses 1 ml of serum and detects low-level exposure associated with as little as 20% inhibition of plasma butyrylcholinesterase.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)149-155
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Applied Toxicology
Volume29
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2009

Keywords

  • Butyrylcholinesterase
  • Carbamate
  • Carbofuran
  • Human plasma
  • Multiple reaction monitoring
  • Pesticide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology

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