Development of a class-selective enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for mercapturic acids in human urine

Christian Lohse, Lynn L. Jaeger, Norbert Staimer, Jim R. Sanborn, A. Daniel Jones, József Langó, Shirley J. Gee, Bruce D. Hammock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Epidemiological and toxicological studies often require the analysis of large numbers of samples for biological markers of exposure. The goal of this work was to develop a class-selective ELISA to detect groups of structurally closely related mercapturic acids with small nonpolar S-substituents. An assay was developed with strong recognition for mercapturates including S-benzylmercapturic acid (IC50 = 0.018 μmol/L), S-n-hexylmercapturic acid (IC50 = 0.021 μmol/L), S-phenylmercapturic acid (IC50 = 0.024 μmol/L), and S-cyclohexylmethylmercapturic acid (IC50 = 0.042 μmol/L). The same assay also showed weaker recognition for S-(1-hydroxynaphthal-2-yl)mercapturic acid and S-allylmercapturic acid (IC50 = 1.1 and 1.7 μmol/L, respectively). Subtle modifications to the hapten linker structure of the coating antigen proved to have a strong impact on the selectivity and the specificity of the assay. A slightly modified assay showed high recognition for S-benzylmercapturic acid (IC50 = 0.018 μmol/L) and weaker recognition for seven other mercapturic acids (IC50 = 0.021-10 μmol/L). Strong positive assay responses were detected in 12 urine samples obtained from persons with no known occupational exposure to exogenous electrophilic xenobiotics. Solid phase extraction and cross-reactivity indicated that the presumptive immunoreactive materials were similar in size and polarity to S-benzylmercapturic acid. The assay was more selective to mercapturic acids than the spectrophotometric thioether assay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5913-5923
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2000


  • Biological monitoring
  • Mercapturic acid
  • Urine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)


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