DNA damage in T- and B-lymphocytes and granulocytes in emission inspection and incineration workers exposed to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

Donggeun Sul, Eunha Oh, Hosub Im, Minho Yang, Chan Wha Kim, Eunil Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we investigated by using comet assay the effects of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) as a major factor on DNA damage of workers exposed to exhaust fumes. Twenty-four workers from three automobile emission inspection companies, 28 workers from a waste incinerating company, and 43 matched, unexposed healthy subjects were enrolled in the study. The mean values of 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OHP) in automobile emission inspection and waste incineration workers were 0.27±0.19 and 0.57±0.46μmol/mol creatinine, respectively, and the mean values of 2-naphthol in automobile emission inspectors and waste incineration workers were 4.80±4.01 and 8.30±4.79mol/mol creatinine, respectively. Significant difference in urinary metabolites, 1-hydroxypyrene and 2-naphthol was found between smokers and non-smokers in exposed groups and it may be due to the amounts of smoking cigarettes. In T-lymphocytes, DNA damage in control subjects, emission inspection workers and incineration workers were 1.42±0.22, 1.41±0.22 and 1.76±0.27, respectively. DNA damage of B-lymphocytes in the three groups showed the most significant differences of three cell types. The tail moments of the B-lymphocytes of control subjects, emission inspection and incineration workers were 1.40±0.27, 2.44±0.32 and 2.36±0.37, respectively. In granulocytes, DNA damage was also different, the tail moments being 2.72±0.59, 3.32±0.38 and 2.85±0.49, respectively. Although 1-OHP and 2-naphthol levels were statistically increased in smokers in workers exposed to PAHs, exposed smoking and non-smoking workers did not show any significantly difference in terms of Olive tail moments. Our results suggest that PAH causes single strand DNA breakage in human T- and B-lymphocytes, and granulocytes. A comparison of DNA damage in three groups showed that B-lymphocytes are useful target in the biomonitoring of human exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-119
Number of pages11
JournalMutation Research - Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2003 Jul 8

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy of the Republic of Korea.


  • 1-Hydroxypyrene
  • 2-Naphthol
  • Comet assay
  • Creatinine
  • Dioxin
  • Lymphocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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