Determination of PAHs and OH-PAHs in rat brain by gas chromatography tandem (triple quadrupole) mass spectrometry

Nathalie Grova*, Guillaume Salquèbre, Henri Schroeder, Brice M.R. Appenzeller

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)


An efficient and selective method for the quantitative determination of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and their monohydroxylated metabolites (OH-PAHs) in rat brain tissue using gas chromatography tandem (triple quadrupole) mass spectrometry (GC-MS/MS) was developed and validated. The list of molecules investigated comprised the 16 PAHs from the US-EPA list and 53 of their OH-PAHs. Brain extract was submitted to enzymatic hydrolysis, followed by liquid-liquid extraction, and then purified by solid-phase extraction. Limits of quantification ranged from 0.6 to 29 pg/mg and from 0.5 to 30 pg/mg for PAHs and OH-PAHs respectively. The analysis of rat brain samples exposed to PAH mixture (0.01-1 mg/kg, 28 days, ip) demonstrated that this method allowed the detection of 16 PAHs and 28 OH-PAHs out of the 69 analytes investigated. Mean concentrations of PAHs in animal brain samples exposed to 1 mg/kg of PAH mixture ranged from 3.0 ± 2 pg/mg for benzo[b]fluoranthene to 146 ± 29 pg/mg for phenanthrene. Concomitantly, mean concentrations of OH-PAHs ranged from 0.49 ± 0.4 to 26.5 ± 23 pg/mg for 2-OH-chrysene and 1-OH-pyrene respectively. This study proves, for the first time, the bioavailability of most of the PAHs and OH-PAHs in mammalian brain tissue and should provide an important new tool for future neurotoxicological studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1653-1667
Number of pages15
JournalChemical Research in Toxicology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2011


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