Biomonitoring findings for occupational lead exposure in battery and ceramic tile workers using biochemical markers, alkaline comet assay, and micronucleus test coupled with fluorescence in situ hybridisation
Manufacture of lead-containing products has long been associated with various health risks. To get an insight into the related genotoxic risks, we conducted a biomonitoring study in 50 exposed workers and 48 matched controls using a battery of endpoints that sensitively detect the extent of genome instability in peripheral blood lymphocytes. The levels of primary DNA damage were estimated with the alkaline comet assay, while cytogenetic abnormalities were determined with the cytokinesis-block micronucleus (CBMN) cytome assay. Additionally, CBMN slides of 20 exposed and 16 control participants were subjected to fluorescence in situ hybridisation (FISH), coupled with pancentromeric probes to establish the incidence of centromere-positive micronuclei, nuclear buds, and nucleoplasmic bridges. Blood lead levels (B-Pb) were measured with atomic absorption spectrometry. To further characterise cumulative effects of occupational exposure, we measured erythrocyte protoporphyrin (EP) concentrations and delta-aminolevulinic acid dehydratase (ALAD) activity in blood. We also assessed the influence of serum folate (S-folate) and vitamin B12 (S-B12) on genome stability. Compared to controls, occupationally exposed workers demonstrated significantly higher B-Pb (298.36±162.07 vs 41.58±23.02), MN frequency (18.71±11.06 vs 8.98±7.50), centromere positive MN (C+ MN) (8.15±1.8 vs 3.69±0.47), and centromere negative MN (C- MN) (14.55±1.80 vs 4.56±0.89). Exposed women had significantly higher comet tail intensity (TI) and length (TL) than control women. Furthermore, workers showed a positive correlation between age and nuclear buds and MN, between MN and years of exposure, and between S-B12 levels and TI and ALAD activity, while a negative correlation was found between TI and B-Pb. These findings suggest that occupational settings in the manufacture of lead-containing products pose significant genotoxic risks, which calls for developing more effective work safety programmes, including periodical monitoring of B-Pb and genetic endpoints.
Copyright (c) 2020 Vilena Kašuba, Mirta Milić, Davor Želježić, Marin Mladinić, Alica Pizent, Zorana Kljaković-Gašpić, Melita Balija, Irena Jukić
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