First Advisor

Reuben H. Simoyi

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Chemistry






Toluene diisocyanate -- Health aspects, Occupational diseases -- Etiology, Monoclonal antibodies -- Research



Physical Description

1 online resource (xv, 150 p.) : ill. (some col.)


Diisocyanates are very reactive low molecular weight chemicals that are widely used in the manufacture of polyurethane products. Diisocyanate exposure is one of the most commonly reported causes of occupational asthma. Although diisocyanates have been identified as causative agents of respiratory diseases, the specific mechanisms by which these diseases occur remain largely unknown. Tandem mass spectrometry was used to unambiguously identify the binding site of isocyanates within four model peptides (Leu-enkephalin (Leu-enk, YGGFL), Angiotensin I (DRVYIHPFHL), Substance P-amide (RPKPQQFFGLM-NH2), and Fibronectin-adhesion promoting peptide (FAPP, WQPPRARI)). In each case, isocyanates were observed to react to the N-terminus of the peptide. No evidence of side chain/isocyanate adduct formation exclusive of the N-terminus was observed. However, significant intra-molecular diisocyanate crosslinking between the N-terminal amine and a side chain amine group was observed for arginine, when located within two residues of the N-terminus. Addition of multiple isocyanates to the peptide occurs via polymerization at the N-terminus, rather than addition of multiple isocyanate molecules to varied residues within the peptide. Toluene diisocyanate (TDI)-specific monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) with potential use in immunoassays for exposure and biomarker assessments were produced. A total of 59 unique mAbs were produced (29 IgG1, 14 IgG2a, 4 IgG2b, 2 IgG3 and 10 IgM) against 2,4 and 2,6 TDI bound protein. The reactivities of these mAbs were characterized by a solid phase indirect enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), Dot ELISA and Western immunoblot against various monoisocyanate, diisocyanate and dithioisocyanate protein conjugates. A subset of the mAbs were specific for 2,4 or 2,6 TDI-conjugated proteins only while others reacted to multiple dNCO conjugates including methylene diphenyl diisocyanate- and hexamethelene diisocyanate- human serum albumin . Western blot analyses demonstrated that some TDI conjugates form inter- and intra-molecular links resulting in multimers and a change in the electrophoretic mobility of the conjugate. In general, 2,4/2,6 TDI reactive mAbs displayed (1) stronger recognition of monoisocyanate haptenated proteins when the isocyanate was in the ortho position relative to the tolyl group, and were able to discriminate between (2) isocyanate and isothiocyanate conjugates (i.e. between the urea and thiourea linkage); and (3) between aromatic and aliphatic diisocyanates. The mAbs produced were not carrier protein specific with estimated affinity constants toward toluene diisocyanate conjugated human serum albumin ranging from 2.21 x 107 to 1.07 x 1010 M-1 for IgG mAbs. Studies using TDI vapor exposed lung and epithelial cell lines suggest potential utility of these mAbs for both research and biomonitoring of isocyanate exposure.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).


Portland State University. Dept. of Chemistry

Persistent Identifier