Chemical research in toxicology

Whole genome expression in peripheral-blood samples of workers professionally exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.

PMID 21854004


This study aims to examine global gene expression profiles before and after the work-shift among coke-oven workers (COWs). COWs work six consecutive days and then take two days off. Two blood and urine samples in each worker were collected before starting to work after two days off and end-of-shift in the sixth day of work in 2009. Altered gene expressions (ratio of gene expression levels between end-of-shift and preshift work) were performed by a Human OneArray expression system which probes ~30,000-transcription expression profiling of human genes. Sixteen workers, all men, were enrolled in this study. Median urinary 1-hydroxypyrene (1OHP) levels (μmol/mol creatinine) in end-of-shift work were significantly higher than those in preshift work (2.58 vs 0.29, p = 0.0002). Among the 20,341 genes which passed experimental quality control, 26 gene expression changes, 7 positive and 19 negative, were highly correlated with across-the-shift urinary 1OHP levels (end-of-shift-preshift 1OHP) (p-value <0.001). The high and low exposure groups of across-the-shift urinary 1OHP levels dichotomized in ~2.00 μmol/mol creatinine were able to be distinguished by these 26 genes. Some of them are known to be involved in apoptosis, chromosome stability/DNA repair, cell cycle control/tumor suppressor, cell adhesion, development/spermatogenesis, immune function, and neuronal cell function. These findings in COWs will be an ideal model to study the relationship of PAH exposure with acute changes of gene expressions.