Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Bioinformatics and Biostatistics

Committee Chair

Looney, Stephen W.


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons; Fetus--Effect of tobacco on


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) are chemicals generated from the incomplete combustion of organic materials, including tobacco smoke. Some PAH are known to be mutagenic and carcinogenic in humans, and of concern for the fetus when women smoke during pregnancy. Known consequences of smoking during pregnancy include low birth weight and preterm delivery. It is unknown if PAH are related to these outcomes. This pilot study was designed to measure concentrations of 3 PAH (anthracene, benzo(a)pyrene and 1-hydroxypyrene) in paired maternal and cord blood samples as well as any correlations between the two matrices. Plasma cotinine was used as a biomarker of tobacco exposure. Additionally, we asked if there is any relationship between the PAH concentrations and low birth weight or preterm delivery. Results showed that all 3 PAH could be found in maternal and cord plasma. Anthracene was consistently shown to be significantly elevated in cord plasma compared to maternal plasma in subgroups based on increasing cotinine concentrations. However, none of the compounds studied were correlated with either birth weight or gestational age.