DNA damage assessment with buccal micronucleus cytome assay in Turkish coal miners
The aim of this study was to assess DNA damage in Turkish coal miners with the buccal micronucleus cytome (BMCyt assay as the least invasive and therefore most practical method that may find wider application in coal miner biomonitoring. Buccal epithelial cell samples were taken from 54 coal miners and 42 controls from Zonguldak, Turkey to establish their micronucleus (MN), binucleus (BN), condensed chromatin (CC), karyorrhectic (KHC), karyolytic (KYL), nuclear bud (NBUD), and pyknotic (PYC) frequencies. We also analysed the effects of confounding factors such as age, years of work at the mine, smoking, alcohol drinking, and use of protective equipment on differences in MN frequencies. Two miners had confirmed and three suspect pneumoconiosis, whereas 49 displayed normal chest radiographs. MN, BN, KHC, and NBUD frequencies were significantly higher in coal miners than controls. Years of work at the mine also showed a significant effect on buccal MN frequencies in coal miners, but we found no correlation between MN frequencies and age, smoking, and alcohol consumption. In conclusion, BMCyt assay proved itself an accurate and practical screening method, as it can detect DNA damage much earlier than pneumoconiosis develops.