Identification of time-dependent biomarkers and effects of exposure to volatile organic compounds using high-throughput analysis

Ji Young Hong, So Yeon Yu, Gi Won Kim, Jeong Jin Ahn, Youngjoo Kim, Seri Lim, Sang Wook Son, Seung Yong Hwang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be easily taken up by humans, leading to various diseases, such as respiratory system and central nervous system disorders. Environmental risk assessment is generally conducted using traditional tests, which may be time-consuming and technically challenging. Therefore, analysis of the effects of VOCs, such as toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylene, may be improved by use of novel, high-throughput methods, such as microarray analysis. In this study, we examined the effects of VOCs exposure in humans on gene expression and methylation using microarray analysis. We recruited participants who had short-term exposure, long-term exposure, or no exposure. We then analyzed changes in gene expression in blood samples from these participants. A total of 866 genes were upregulated, while 366 genes were downregulated in the short-term exposure group. Similarly, in the long-term exposure group, a total of 852 and 480 genes were up- or downregulated, respectively. Hierarchical clustering analysis was used to divide the clustered genes into nine clusters to investigate the expression of variations in accordance with the exposure period. And the methylation microarray was performed at the same time to see whether this expression variation is related to the epigenetic study. Finally, we have 5 genes that were upregulated and 12 genes that were downregulated, gradually and respectively, so these genes are expected to function as biomarkers of the duration of exposure to VOCs. Further research is required to determine the time-dependent effects of VOCs on epigenetic regulation of gene expression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1563-1570
Number of pages8
JournalEnvironmental Toxicology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Nov 1


  • ethylbenzene
  • exposure time
  • gene expression
  • methylation
  • microarray
  • toluene
  • xylene

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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