Dioxin-like TEQ of women from the Seveso, Italy area by ID-HRGC/HRMS and CALUX

Marcella Warner, Brenda Eskenazi, Donald G. Patterson, George Clark, Wayman E. Turner, Luigi Bonsignore, Paolo Mocarelli, Pier Mario Gerthoux

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Polychlorinated dibenzo-p-dioxins (PCDDs), polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDFs), and polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) are widespread environmental contaminants that exist as complex mixtures and are frequently detected at part-per-trillion (ppt) levels in humans. Using isotope dilution high-resolution gas chromatography/high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRGC/HRMS), we measure the PCDDs, PCDFs, and PCBs in serum of a population of 78 women residing in an area near Seveso, Italy where a TCDD explosion occurred in 1976 and where furniture is manufactured. The average total dioxin-like toxic equivalents (TEQ) of these women was 25.3 ppt, lipid-adjusted, comparable to other parts of Europe. TCDD levels, however, were higher among the few women who resided in the exposed area in 1976. We examined the possibility of using the CALUX (chemical-activated luciferase gene expression) bioassay to estimate total TEQ in a small volume of plasma from this population. A total of 32 archived plasma specimens were selected for CALUX bioassay, based on the distribution of Total TEQ by HRGC/HRMS. The CALUX bioassay was performed blind to HRGC/HRMS results with 2 ml plasma per replicate analysis. Of 32 samples, 10 were below detection limits in the CALUX bioassay. For the 32 samples, the CALUX-TEQ averaged 25.4 ppt, lipid-adjusted (range: 0-127.6) and was not significantly different from the HRGC/HRMS Total TEQ average of 31.2 ppt, lipid-adjusted (range: 12.7-88.3) (t = 0.88, P = 0.38). however, the two measures were not significantly correlated (Rs = 0.04, P = 0.82). More validation of the CALUX bioassay with larger sample volume is needed before application as an exposure measure in large-scale epidemiologic studies of health effects of dioxin-like compounds.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)310-318
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Exposure Analysis and Environmental Epidemiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Toxicology
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Pollution
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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