Malathion, diethyl 2-[(dimethoxyphosphinothioyl)thio]butanedioate, is one of most widely used organophosphoryl pesticide, and it has been detected in several clinical cases of accidental exposure and suicide. It is reported that the observed malathion concentration in blood of persons who suffer from malathion poisoning is smaller than the expected concentration. Because malathion is bound to human serum albumin (HSA), recovery of malathion in the free form is insufficient. We detected malathion adducts in HSA by liquid chromatography quadrupole time-of-flight mass spectrometry (LC-Q/TOF–MS). The mass spectra showed that malathion was preferably bound to the lysine (K) and cysteinylproline (CP) residues of HSA. The K- and CP-adducts of malathion were increased in vitro with a dose-dependent fashion when its concentration was smaller than the lethal dose.
Fig: Effect of blood proteins on malathion concentration. One μg/mL malathion was incubated in HSA solution (a) or Hb solution (b). Tukey’s test was performed for comparison between groups. Double asterisks (**) indicate significant difference at p < 0.01.
Further, the K-adduct was also detected in post-mortem blood of an autopsied subject suffering from intentional malathion ingestion. These results suggest that the K-adduct seems to be available to use a biomarker of malathion poisoning, and the determination of the K-adduct could make possible to estimate the amount of malathion ingestion.
Yamagishi, Y., Iwase, H. & Ogra, Y. Effects of human serum albumin on post-mortem changes of malathion. Sci Rep 11, 11573 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-91145-y