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Immunol Lett. 2005 Oct 15;101(1):65-70. Epub 2005 Apr 26.

Phenotype analysis of lymphocytes of workers with chronic benzene poisoning.

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1
PPGIm-ICS-UFBA/FDC, Fundacao Bahiana para o Desenvolvimento das Ciencias, Rua Silveira Martins n.3386-Cabula, 41150100 Salvador, Brazil. marciaanjo@uol.com.br

Abstract

Lifetime exposure to benzene is associated to a variety of blood disorders, and except for the risk of cancer, almost nothing is known concerning health impairment in individuals who are no longer exposed. In Brazil, this exposure is one of the serious problems in workplaces, and many workers have been laid off their jobs due to this intoxication, particularly in the State of Bahia, the largest producer of benzene in Latin America, which is the area of this study. From a larger study to describe health effects and genetic polymorphisms among workers with chronic benzene poisoning (CBP), this previous specific investigation analyzes the association between CBP and the pattern of sub-populations of lymphocytes. The study was performed with a CBP group (n=24) and a control group with other occupational diseases (n=24); both were selected at the Workers Health Study Center in the State of Bahia, Brazil. Clinical and epidemiologic variables were collected from medical records and from a detailed questionnaire. The average age was similar in the two groups (51.1 and 50.7, respectively). Analyzing the mean proportions of the sub-populations of lymphocytes, statistically significant differences were found for T cytotoxic cells (TCD8) (27.9; 19.4; p=0.002) and T helper memory cell (CD4CD45RO) (31.2; 37.0; p=0.015), respectively, for the CBP group and control group. These results should be viewed with caution because of the small sample size, but they strengthen a previous impression that workers exposed to benzene have their immune system impaired, even in the long term, which may contribute to some disorders and carcinogenesis process. These workers must be strictly followed up in a medical surveillance program. Although this problem has been known for a long time, this is the first attempt to study these specific effects in Brazil.

PMID:
15913788
DOI:
10.1016/j.imlet.2005.04.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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