Cytogenetic markers (chromosomal aberrations, sister chromatid exchanges (SCE), cells with high frequency of SCE (HFC), the heterogeneity index SCE (SCE-H) and genetic polymorphism of genotypes GSTM1 and NAT2 were evaluated in the peripheral lymphocytes of 64 coke oven workers and 34 control subjects from the same plant. Personal monitors were used to evaluate exposure to eight carcinogenic (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons) PAHs, including B[a]P, during an 8-h working shift. Smoking habits were checked by urinary cotinine measurement. The exposure among coke oven workers ranged widely from 0.6 to 547 microgram/m3 and 2 to 50 137 ng/m3, for carcinogenic PAHs and B[a]P, respectively. The respective values in controls were 0.07 to 1.51 microgram/m3 and from 2 to 63 ng/m3. The results of biomonitoring in exposed vs. control subjects were as follows: frequency of chromosomal aberrations (% AB.C.), 2. 30% AB.C. vs. 1.09% AB.C. (P<0.05); sister chromatid exchanges, 7.47 SCE/cell vs. 5.49 SCE/cell (P<0.05); HFC, 5.94% vs. 2.06% (P<0.05) and SCE-H index, 1.49 vs. 1.01 (P<0.05). All the cytogenetic markers were significantly increased in the exposed vs. control groups. The effect of smoking was observed only in SCE when evaluated as HFC. Using individual exposure data for carcinogenic PAHs, a significant correlation between exposure and %AB.C. (r=0.372, P=0.0002), SCE/cell (r=0.331, P=0.001), HFC (r=0.467, P=0.007) and SCE/H (r=0. 286, P=0.004) was found. No effects of GSTM1 and NAT2 genotypes, individually or in combination, on the cytogenetic markers was observed. It is concluded that occupational exposure of coke oven workers involved in this study resulted in an increased level of chromosomal aberrations and SCE. The frequency of AB.C. and SCE/cell was found to be related to exposure to carcinogenic PAHs.
Copyright 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.