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Guerrero-Preston R.,Johns Hopkins University | Guerrero-Preston R.,University of Puerto Rico at San Juan | Goldman L.R.,Johns Hopkins University | Brebi-Mieville P.,Johns Hopkins University | And 13 more authors.
Epigenetics | Year: 2010

Environmental exposures in utero may alter the epigenome, thus impacting chromosomal stability and gene expression. We hypothesized that in utero exposures to maternal smoking and perfluoroalkyl compounds (PFCs) are associated with global DNA hypomethylation in umbilical cord serum. Our objective was to determine if global DNA methylation could be used as a biomarker of in utero exposures to maternal smoking and PFCs. Using an ELISA-based method, global DNA methylation was quantified in umbilical cord serum from 30 newborns with high (>10 ng/ml, mean 123.8 ng/ml), low (range 1-10 ng/ml, mean 1.6 ng/ml) and very low (<1 ng/ml, mean 0.06 ng/ml) cord serum cotinine levels. Y chromosome analysis was performed to rule out maternal DNA cross-contamination. Cord serum global DNA methylation showed an inverse dose response to serum cotinine levels (p < 0.001). Global DNA methylation levels in cord blood were the lowest among newborns with smoking mothers (mean = 15.04%; 95% CI, 8.4, 21.7) when compared to babies of mothers who were second-hand smokers (21.1%; 95% CI, 16.6, 25.5) and non-smokers (mean = 29.2%; 95% CI, 20.1, 38.1). Global DNA methylation was inversely correlated with serum PFOA (r = -0.35, p = 0.06) but not PFOS levels. Serum Y chromosome analyses did not detect maternal DNA cross-contamination. This study supports the use of global DNA methylation status as a biomarker of in utero exposure to cigarette smoke and PFCs. © 2010 Landes Bioscience.

Ruiz-Colon K.,Institute of Forensic Science of Puerto Rico | Ruiz-Colon K.,University of Puerto Rico at San Juan | Martinez M.A.,Instituto Nacional Of Toxicologia Y C Forenses | Silva-Torres L.A.,Institute of Forensic Science of Puerto Rico | And 5 more authors.
Journal of Analytical Toxicology | Year: 2012

Xylazine, a veterinary sedative, has been found as an adulterant of heroin in street drugs in Puerto Rico. It was found in combination with free morphine and 6-acetylmorphine, codeine, cocaine and benzoylecgonine in postmortem cases at the Puerto Rico Institute of Forensic Sciences (PRIFS). Xylazine is not approved for human use because it has been proven harmful. Currently, three separate analyses are required to determine all the aforementioned drugs at the PRIFS's toxicology laboratory. To reduce analysis time consumption, sample volume, run time, sample preparation and cost, a highthroughput ultra-high-pressure liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry method was developed and validated for the simultaneous quantification of xylazine, free morphine, 6-acetylmorphine, codeine, cocaine and benzoylecgonine in 0.25 mL postmortem blood by protein precipitation, fulfilling confirmation criteria with three transitions for each compound with acceptable relative ion intensities. Linearity was established between 10-1,000 ng/mL. Total run time was 2.5 min. Limit of detection was 1 ng/mL for cocaine and xylazine, 2 ng/mL for 6-acetylmorphine and 10 ng/mL for free morphine, codeine and benzoylecgonine. The intra-day and inter-day precision and accuracy was less than 15.6%. Process efficiencies ranged from 35.9 to 123.4% and recoveries from 59.9 to 110.1%. The developed method was successfully applied to casework. © The Author [2012]. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

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