Short-term markers of DNA damage among roofers who work with hot asphaltReport as inadecuate

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Environmental Health

, 15:99

First Online: 20 October 2016Received: 21 June 2016Accepted: 10 October 2016DOI: 10.1186-s12940-016-0182-4

Cite this article as: Serdar, B., Brindley, S., Dooley, G. et al. Environ Health 2016 15: 99. doi:10.1186-s12940-016-0182-4


BackgroundRoofers are at increased risk for various malignancies and their occupational exposures to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons PAHs have been considered as important risk factors. The overall goal of this project was to investigate the usefulness of phosphorylated histone H2AX γH2AX as a short-term biomarker of DNA damage among roofers.

MethodsBlood, urine, and dermal wipe samples were collected from 20 roofers who work with hot asphalt before and after 6 h of work on Monday and Thursday of the same week 4 sampling periods. Particle-bound and gas-phase PAHs were collected using personal monitors during work hours. γH2AX was quantified in peripheral lymphocytes using flow cytometry and 8-hydroxy-2-deoxyguanosine 8-OHdG was assessed in urine using ELISA. General linear mixed models were used to evaluate associations between DNA damage and possible predictors such as sampling period, exposure levels, work- and life-style factors. Differences in mean biomarker and DNA damage levels were tested via ANOVA contrasts.

ResultsExposure measurements did not show an association with any of the urinary biomarkers or the measures of DNA damage. Naphthalene was the most abundant PAH in gas-phase, while benzoepyrene was the most abundant particle-bound PAH. Post-shift levels of γH2AX and 8-OHdG were higher on both study days, when compared to pre-shift levels. Cigarette smoking was a predictor of γH2AX and urinary creatinine was a predictor of urinary 8-OHdG. Between-subject variance to total variance ratio was 35.3 % for γH2ax and 4.8 % for 8-OHdG.

ConclusionγH2AX is a promising biomarker of DNA damage in occupational epidemiology studies. It has a lower within-subject variation than urinary 8-OHdG and can easily be detected in large scale groups. Future studies that explore the kinetics of H2AX phosphorylation in relation to chemical exposures may reveal the transient and persistent nature of this sensitive biomarker of early DNA damage.

KeywordsPolycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, PAHs, Biomarkers, 8-hydroxy-deoxyguanosine, γH2AX DNA double strand breaks Abbreviations1-OHNap1-hydroxynaphthalene




ANOVAAnalysis of variance


ELISAEnzyme-linked immunosorbent assay


GC-TOFMSGas chromatography with time of flight mass spectrometry

GC-MSGas chromatography-mass spectrometry

GMsGeometric means

GSDsGeometric standard deviations

LODLimit of detection

MFIMean fluorescence intensity

NIOSHNational Institute of Occupational Safety and Health

OH-PAHHydroxylated PAH

PAHsPolycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons

PBMCsPeripheral blood mononuclear cells

PBSPhosphate buffered saline

ROSReactive oxygen species

SIMSelected ion monitoring

SPESolid phase extraction

γH2AXphosphorylated histone H2AX

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-s12940-016-0182-4 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Berrin Serdar - Stephen Brindley - Greg Dooley - John Volckens - Elizabeth Juarez-colunga - Ryan Gan


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