DNA damage induced by occupational and environmental exposure to miscellaneous chemicals

Mutat Res Rev Mutat Res. Oct-Dec 2016;770(Pt A):170-182. doi: 10.1016/j.mrrev.2016.02.002. Epub 2016 Feb 11.


Epidemiological studies for hazardous situations resulting from the risk of environmental and/or occupational exposure to miscellaneous chemicals present several difficulties. Biomonitoring of human populations can provide an early detection system for the initiation of cell dysregulation in the development of cancer, which would help develop an efficient prevention program. Recently, the cytokinesis-block micronucleus (CBMN) assay in lymphocyte cells has become an important tool for assessing DNA damage in exposed populations. This is the method of choice for population-based studies of occupational and/or environmental exposure to different agents. In this review, human populations exposed to coal, dyes, paints, organic solvents in a complex mixture, and others miscellaneous chemicals were analyzed. Data from 28 studies was evaluated in relation to the effect of complex mixture exposition on micronucleus (MN) frequency. Other biomarkers and the background factors were evaluated as well, such as gender, age, or smoking habit. Most of these studies (75%) showed a significant increase of micronucleated cells to exposed groups in relation to the control groups, besides chromosomal aberrations (CA), sister chromatid exchanging (SCE) and comet cells (comet assay). The studies from this review about miscellaneous chemicals exposures using CBMN assay have indicated some time and dose-dependent effects. Overall, the findings suggest that the responses resulting from exposure to complex mixtures are varied and complicated. However, they are also an important mechanism of DNA damage concerning disruption of metal ion homeostasis that may lead to oxidative stress, a state where increased formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) overwhelms body antioxidant protection and subsequently could induce cancer.

Keywords: CBMN assay; Coal; Complex mixture; Dyes; Occupational exposition; Organic solvents.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • DNA Damage*
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Micronucleus Tests
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupational Exposure*