Markers of individual susceptibility and DNA repair rate in workers exposed to xenobiotics in a tire plant

Environ Mol Mutagen. 2004;44(4):283-92. doi: 10.1002/em.20055.


Workers employed in tire plants are exposed to a variety of xenobiotics, such as 1,3-butadiene (BD), soots containing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, and other organic chemicals (e.g., styrene). In the present study, we investigated markers of genotoxicity [chromosomal aberrations (CAs) and single-strand breaks (SSBs)] in a cohort of 110 tire plant workers engaged in jobs with different levels of xenobiotic exposure in relation to various polymorphisms in genes coding for biotransformation enzymes (CYP1A1, CYP2E1, EPHX1, GSTM1, GSTP1, and GSTT1) and in genes involved in DNA repair (XPD exon 23, XPG exon 15, XPC exon 15, XRCC1 exon 10, and XRCC3 exon 7). In addition, the expression of CYP2E1, a gene playing a key role in BD metabolism, was determined by real-time PCR in peripheral blood lymphocytes, and the capacity of lymphocytes to repair gamma-ray-induced SSBs and to convert 8-oxoguanine in HeLa cell DNA into SSBs was assessed using in vitro assays. No positive associations were detected between the CA frequency or SSB induction and levels of workplace exposure; however, a nonsignificant twofold higher irradiation-specific DNA repair rate was found among highly exposed workers. In evaluations conducted with the markers of individual susceptibility, workers with low-EPHX1-activity genotypes exhibited a significantly higher CA frequency as compared to those with medium and high-EPHX1-activity genotypes (P = 0.050). CA frequencies were significantly lower in individuals homozygous for the XPD exon 23 variant allele in comparison to those with the wild-type CC genotype (P = 0.003). Interestingly, CAs were higher in individuals with higher CYP2E1 expression levels, but the association was nonsignificant (P = 0.097). The results from this study suggest the importance of evaluating markers of individual susceptibility, since they may modulate genotoxic effects induced by occupational exposure to xenobiotics.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chromosome Aberrations / chemically induced*
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1 / metabolism
  • DNA Damage*
  • DNA Helicases / genetics
  • DNA Repair / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Enzymes / genetics*
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Industry
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure*
  • Polymorphism, Genetic
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Slovakia
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Xenobiotics / toxicity*
  • Xeroderma Pigmentosum Group D Protein


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Enzymes
  • Transcription Factors
  • Xenobiotics
  • Cytochrome P-450 CYP2E1
  • DNA Helicases
  • Xeroderma Pigmentosum Group D Protein
  • ERCC2 protein, human