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Int J Hyg Environ Health. 2013 Jan;216(1):82-7. doi: 10.1016/j.ijheh.2012.03.007. Epub 2012 Apr 14.

Formation of micronuclei and other nuclear anomalies in exfoliated nasal and oral cells: results of a human study with workers in a power plant processing poultry litter.

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  • 1Institute of Cancer Research, Internal Medicine I, Medical University of Vienna, 1090 Vienna, Austria.


Handling of chicken litter leads to exposure to toxic gases, endotoxins and airborne microorganisms. Aim of this study was to investigate if this results in acute cytotoxicity and to damage of the genetic material which is involved in the etiology of various diseases including cancer. Nuclear anomalies which reflect genotoxic and cytotoxic effects were monitored in exfoliated buccal and nasal cells which were collected from workers (n = 25) of a power plant which processes chicken manure and from controls (n = 21). Furthermore, biochemical parameters of the redox status (malondialdehyde, oxLDL and TEAC) and C-reactive protein (CRP) in plasma and the concentrations of toxic gases and endotoxins in the air were determined. No increase of anomalies which reflect chromosomal damage (micronuclei, binucleates, nuclear buds) but significantly higher rates of nuclear aberrations which are indicative for cytotoxicity (karyolysis, karyorrhexis, condensed chromatin) were found in the workers. These effects were in nasal cells more pronounced as in buccal cells. MDA, oxLDL and CRC levels were in both study groups similar. Chemical analyses show that the workers are exposed to high concentrations of NO and endotoxins, while the levels of NO2, NH3 and H2S were below the MAK levels. Taken together, the results show that anomalies that are due to cytotoxicity are increased in the workers and suggest that the exposure may lead to inflammations in the respiratory tract. However, the lack of induction of anomalies that reflect chromosomal damage indicate that no health effects will take place which are due to instability of the genetic material.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier GmbH. All rights reserved.

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