Proteomic analysis of plasma proteins of workers exposed to benzene

Won A. Joo, Donggeun Sul, Do Youn Lee, Eunil Lee, Chan Wha Kim

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34 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we analyzed the proteins in plasma of workers exposed to benzene by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis, in the hope of finding a specific protein suitable for the biomonitoring of benzene exposure. Comet assays were also carried out to evaluate lymphocytes DNA damage. Fifty workers from a printing company and 38 matched unexposed healthy subjects were enrolled in the study. DNA damage was found to be significantly higher in the exposed workers than in the controls. The tail moments of the two groups were 2.07±0.35 and 1.48±0.41, respectively (P<0.0001). The mean values of trans, trans-muconic acid (t,t-MA) in workers exposed to benzene and in unexposed subjects were 1.011±0.249 and 0.026±0.028mg/g creatinine, respectively. Protein profiles were significantly different (P<0.05) in the two groups, as identified by matrix-assisted laser desorption ionization/time of flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry and confirmed by Western blot. T cell receptor β chain (TCR β), FK506-binding protein (FKBP51) and matrix metalloproteinase-13 (MMP13) were found to be up-regulated in the benzene-exposed workers. In addition, the correlation between TCR β and the tail moments of lymphocytes was statistically significant (r-value, 0.428). We conclude that TCR β in plasma could be used for the early detection of exposure to benzene.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-44
Number of pages10
JournalMutation Research - Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Mar 14

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Korean Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Energy and by a grant from Korea University Grant. Won-A Joo hold a Brain Korea 21 fellowship from the Korean Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development. We express our gratitude to Dr. Sangduk Kim for helping with the manuscript preparation and for providing scientific discussion. We also appreciate the help of Jong-Bok Seo (Korea Basic Science Institute) for performing the MALDI-TOF MS analysis.


  • Benzene
  • Comet assay
  • TCR β
  • Two-dimensional electrophoresis (2-DE)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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