Mutation research

Exposure assessment of benzene in Thai workers, DNA-repair capacity and influence of genetic polymorphisms.

PMID 17095285


Exposure to benzene can cause DNA damage and the subsequent development of cancer. In this study, study subjects were 31 laboratory workers at a petrochemical factory and 31 gasoline service attendants. Control subjects were 34 workers from a mail sorting service center. Occupational exposures to benzene were assessed using biomarkers of exposure in blood and urine. Induction of DNA-repair capacity was assessed as a biomarker of early effect. The effects of polymorphisms in a metabolizing gene (CYP2E1), in detoxification genes (NQO1 and GSTT1), and in a DNA-repair gene (XRCC1, codon 399) on biomarker levels were evaluated. The mean individual benzene exposure of laboratory workers (24.40+/-5.82 ppb) and that of gasoline service attendants (112.41+/-13.92 ppb) were significantly higher than in controls (1.39+/-0.17 ppb, p<0.001). Blood benzene levels of laboratory workers (169.12+/-30.60 ppt) and gasoline service attendants (483.46+/-59.62 ppt) were significantly higher than those of the controls (43.30+/-4.89 ppt, p<0.001). Trans,trans-muconic acid levels in post-shift urine samples collected from laboratory workers (0.14+/-0.02 mg/g creatinine) and gasoline service attendants (0.20+/-0.02 mg/g creatinine) were significantly higher than in urine samples of controls (0.04+/-0.01 mg/g creatinine, p<0.001). The level of benzene exposure was correlated with blood benzene levels (R2=0.65, p<0.01) and post-shift urinary trans,trans-muconic acid concentrations (R2=0.49, p<0.01). As a biomarker of early effect, DNA-repair capacity was assessed by use of the cytogenetic challenge assay, i.e., chromosomal aberrations in peripheral lymphocytes were assessed after challenging blood cultures with 1 Gy gamma radiation. A significantly lower DNA-repair capacity--determined as dicentrics in laboratory workers (0.17 per metaphase cell) and in gasoline service attendants (0.19 per metaphase cell) compared with controls (0.12 per metaphase cell, p<0.001)--was observed. The frequency of deletions in laboratory workers (0.22 per metaphase cell) and gasoline service attendants (0.39 per metaphase cell) were significantly higher than in control workers (0.16 per metaphase cell, p<0.01 and p<0.001, respectively). An increase in radiation-induced dicentrics and deletions indicate a lower DNA-repair capacity in benzene-exposed workers. The influence of genetic polymorphisms on the biomarkers was assessed. Benzene-exposed workers who carried CYP2E1*1/*5 or *5/*5 genotypes excreted slightly higher levels of trans,trans-muconic acid than workers who carried the CYP2E1*1/*1 genotype. In this study, NQO1 and GSTT1 genotypes did not have any effect on the levels of trans,trans-muconic acid. In the case of XRCC1, laboratory workers with 399Arg/Gln or Gln/Gln had a lower DNA-repair capacity--measured as radiation-induced frequency of dicentrics and deletions--than those with the 399Arg/Arg genotype (p<0.01). Our results show that biomarkers of internal dose and early biological effect in people occupationally exposed to benzene are influenced by genetic polymorphisms in susceptibility genes.

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trans,trans-Muconic acid, 98%