TitleCompetitive Metabolism of Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAHs): An Assessment Using In Vitro Metabolism and Physiologically Based Pharmacokinetic (PBPK) Modeling.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsSmith, JN, Gaither, KA, Pande, P
JournalInt J Environ Res Public Health
Date Published2022 Jul 06
KeywordsBenzo(a)pyrene, Cytochrome P-450 CYP1A1, Cytochrome P-450 Enzyme System, Humans, Microsomes, Liver, Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons

Humans are routinely exposed to complex mixtures such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) rather than to single compounds, as are often assessed for hazards. Cytochrome P450 enzymes (CYPs) metabolize PAHs, and multiple PAHs found in mixtures can compete as substrates for individual CYPs (e.g., CYP1A1, CYP1B1, etc.). The objective of this study was to assess competitive inhibition of metabolism of PAH mixtures in humans and evaluate a key assumption of the Relative Potency Factor approach that common human exposures will not cause interactions among mixture components. To test this objective, we co-incubated binary mixtures of benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) and dibenzo[def,p]chrysene (DBC) in human hepatic microsomes and measured rates of enzymatic BaP and DBC disappearance. We observed competitive inhibition of BaP and DBC metabolism and measured inhibition coefficients (), observing that BaP inhibited DBC metabolism more potently than DBC inhibited BaP metabolism (0.061 vs. 0.44 µM , respectively). We developed a physiologically based pharmacokinetic (PBPK) interaction model by integrating PBPK models of DBC and BaP and incorporating measured metabolism inhibition coefficients. The PBPK model predicts significant increases in BaP and DBC concentrations in blood AUCs following high oral doses of PAHs (≥100 mg), five orders of magnitude higher than typical human exposures. We also measured inhibition coefficients of Supermix-10, a mixture of the most abundant PAHs measured at the Portland Harbor Superfund Site, on BaP and DBC metabolism. We observed similar potencies of inhibition coefficients of Supermix-10 compared to BaP and DBC. Overall, results of this study demonstrate that these PAHs compete for the same enzymes and, at high doses, inhibit metabolism and alter internal dosimetry of exposed PAHs. This approach predicts that BaP and DBC exposures required to observe metabolic interaction are much higher than typical human exposures, consistent with assumptions used when applying the Relative Potency Factor approach for PAH mixture risk assessment.

Alternate JournalInt J Environ Res Public Health
PubMed ID35886113
PubMed Central IDPMC9323266
Grant ListP42 ES016465 / ES / NIEHS NIH HHS / United States
R01 ES028600 / ES / NIEHS NIH HHS / United States