Association analysis of toluene exposure time with high-throughput mRNA expressions and methylation patterns using in vivo samples

Ji Young Hong, So Yeon Yu, Seol Young Kim, Jeong Jin Ahn, Youngjoo Kim, Gi Won Kim, Sang Wook Son, Jong Tae Park, Seung Yong Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The emission of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) resulting from outdoor air pollution can contribute to major public health problems. However, there has been limited research on the health effects in humans from the inhalation of VOCs. Therefore, this study conducted an in vivo analysis of the effects of toluene, one of the most commonly used chemicals in many industries, on gene expression and methylation over time using the high-throughput technique of microarray analysis. We separated participants into three groups (control, short-term exposure, and long-term exposure) to investigate the influence of toluene exposure time on gene expression. We then comprehensively analyzed and investigated the correlation between variations in gene expression and the occurrence of methylation. Twenty-six genes were upregulated and hypomethylated, while 32 genes were downregulated and hypermethylated. The pathways of these genes were confirmed to be associated with cell survival and the immune system. Based on our findings, these genes can help predict the effects of time-dependent exposure to toluene on human health. Thus, observations from our data may have implications for the identification of biomarkers of toluene exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-64
Number of pages6
JournalEnvironmental Research
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Apr 1

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Samples were provided by the Korea University Medical Center (IRB #AS 14039), and the microarray data analysis was carried out at BioCore Co., Ltd. (Seoul, Korea). This subject was supported by the Korea Ministry of Environment as a "Converging technology project".

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015.


  • Gene expression
  • Methylation
  • Microarray
  • Time-dependent exposure
  • Toluene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Environmental Science


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