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J Toxicol Environ Health A. 2012;75(13-15):934-46. doi: 10.1080/15287394.2012.690710.

Genotoxic damage in hospital workers exposed to ionizing radiation and metabolic gene polymorphisms.

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Laboratory of Genetics, University School of Medicine of Monastir, Monastir, Tunisia.


Of all workers exposed globally to synthetic sources of radiation, medical personnel represent the largest group, but receive relatively low doses. Accidental or therapeutic acute radiation exposure of humans was observed to induce various forms of cytogenetic damage, including the possibility of increasing the incidence of micronuclei (MN) and chromosomal aberrations (CA). The aim of this study was to assess occupationally induced chromosomal damage in a large population of hospital workers exposed to low doses of ionizing radiation (IR). The cytokinesis-block MN and comet assays were used to examine peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL) of 31 exposed workers to IR and 33 control subjects corresponding in gender, age, and smoking. Glutathione S-transferases (GSTM1, GSTT1, and GSTP1) are postulated to be involved in the detoxification of endogenous and exogenous genotoxicants. The association between these biomarkers and polymorphic genes of xenobiotic metabolizing enzymes was thus also assessed. MN frequency was significantly higher in the exposed subjects compared controls. Comet assay results showed a significant increase of tail length in workers exposed to IR. Data obtained suggest that GSTM1, GSTT1, and GSTP1 polymorphism do not modify significantly the genotoxic potential of IR. Therefore, the exposed medical personnel need to carefully apply radiation protection procedures and minimize, as low as possible, IR exposure to avoid possible genotoxic effects.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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