Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 26, pp 27281–27290 | Cite as

Urinary metabolites of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in pregnant women and their association with a biomarker of oxidative stress

  • Xiang-Yin Lou
  • Peng-Ran Wu
  • Ying GuoEmail author
Research Article


Exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) during pregnancy may pose adverse health risk to both the mothers and babies. In the present study, 188 pregnant women of different trimesters were recruited in Guangzhou, south China, and nine hydroxyl PAHs (OH-PAHs) and a biomarker of DNA oxidative damage, 8-hydroxy-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-OHdG), were determined in their urine samples. All OH-PAHs except for 4-hydroxyphenanthrene and 6-hydroxychrysene were found in > 90% samples, with total concentration in the range of 0.52 to 42.9 μg/g creatinine. In general, concentration levels of OH-PAHs in pregnant women were lower than those in general population in the same research area but with higher levels in working women than in housewives. The mean daily intakes of PAHs from dietary estimated by urinary OH-PAHs were 0.021, 0.004, 0.047, and 0.030 μg/kg_bw/day for naphthalene, fluorene, phenanthrene, and pyrene, respectively, which were much lower than the reference doses (20, 30, and 40 μg/kg_bw/day for naphthalene, pyrene, and fluorene, respectively) derived from chronic oral exposure data by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. The low exposure levels of PAHs may be attributed to the traditional dietary taboo of Chinese pregnant women, which is to minimize the consumption of “toxic” food. The concentrations of 8-OHdG (4.67–49.4 μg/g creatinine) were significantly positively correlated with concentrations of several OH-PAHs, such as metabolites of naphthalene, fluorene, and phenanthrene (r = 0.3–0.6). In addition, the concentrations of 8-OHdG were higher in working women than in housewives when exposed to the same levels of PAHs, partly indicating the possible relation between work-related pressure for working women and the oxidative stress.


OH-PAHs Pregnant women Oxidative stress Working pressure Exposure assessment 8-OHdG 



All the volunteers are highly appreciated for providing urine samples.

Funding information

The present study was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21577050), the National Natural Science Funds for Distinguished Young Scholar of Guangdong Province, China (No. 2016A030306015), and Guangdong Innovative and Entrepreneurial Research Team Program, China (No. 2016ZT06N258).

Compliance with ethical standards

The present study was approved by the ethics committee of Jinan University.

Supplementary material

11356_2019_5855_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1.4 mb)
ESM 1 (DOC 1413 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The First Affiliated Hospital of Jinan UniversityGuangzhouChina
  2. 2.School of Environment, Guangdong Key Laboratory of Environmental Pollution and HealthJinan UniversityGuangzhouChina

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