Relationship between HMF intake and SMF formation in vivo: An animal and human study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Scope: 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) is a furanic compound produced in heat-processed foods by nonenzymatic browning reactions. HMF has been demonstrated to be hepato- and nephrotoxic in animals with a link to its metabolite 5-sulfooxymethylfurfural (SMF). To date little is known about either the formation of SMF from ingested HMF or the formation of DNA adducts in animals or human beings. Methods and results: To assess SMF in vivo formation, we first performed a study in mice treated with high/low doses of oral HMF. We found increased concentrations of SMF in plasma and DNA SMF-adducts in leukocytes, hepatic tissue, and kidneys by means of LC-MS/MS, but no spatial formation in such tissues was observed by MALDI-MS imaging technology due to low sensitivity. In a second experiment, we measured the exposure to HMF in a Spanish preadolescent population. We analyzed the concentration of HMF metabolites (plasma, urine) and measured, for the first time, the presence of SMF in plasma and DNA SMF-adducts in leukocytes. Conclusion: This study provides the first evidence that oral HMF is readily transformed into SMF in vivo, giving rise to the formation of DNA adducts in a direct relation with HMF intake, both in animals and human beings.


  • Silvia Pastoriza de la Cueva
  • Juana Álvarez
  • Ákos Végvári
  • Javier Montilla-Gómez
  • Olga Cruz-López
  • Cristina Delgado-Andrade
  • José A. Rufián-Henares
External organisations
  • University of Granada
  • CSIC - Estación Experimental del Zaidín (EEZ)
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Cell and Molecular Biology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


  • 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural, 5-Sulfooxymethylfurfural, Estimated intake, Heat processing, Maillard reaction
Original languageEnglish
Article number1600773
JournalMolecular Nutrition and Food Research
Issue number3
Early online date2016 Dec 20
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Mar
Publication categoryResearch