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Biomarkers. 1996;1(2):86-93. doi: 10.3109/13547509609088675.

DNA-protein crosslinks in peripheral lymphocytes of individuals exposed to hexavalent chromium compounds.


Abstract DNA-protein crosslinks were measured in peripheral blood lymphocytes of chrome-platers and controls from Bulgaria in order to evaluate a genotoxic effect of human exposure to carcinogenic Cr(VI) compounds. Chrome-platers and most of the unexposed controls were from the industrial city of Jambol; some additional controls were recruited from the seaside town of Burgas. The chrome-platers had significantly elevated levels of chromium in pre- and post-shift urine, erythrocytes and lymphocytes compared with the control subjects. The largest differences between the two groups were found in erythrocyte chromium concentrations which are considered to be indicative of Cr(VI) exposure. Despite the significant differences in internal chromium doses, levels of DNA-protein crosslinks were not significantly different between the combined controls and exposed workers. Individual DNA-protein crosslinks, however, correlated strongly with chromium in erythrocytes at low and moderate doses but at high exposures, such as among the majority of chrome-platers, these DNA adducts were saturated at maximum levels. The saturation of DNA-protein crosslinks seems to occur at 7-8 μg I-(1) chromium in erythrocytes whereas a mean erythrocyte chromium among the chrome platers was as high as 22.8 μg l(-1). Occupationally unexposed subjects exhibited a significant variability with respect to the erythrocyte chromium concentration, however erythrocyte chromium levels correlated closely with DNA-protein crosslinks in lymphocytes. The controls from Jambol had higher chromium concentrations in erythrocytes and elevated levels of DNA-protein crosslinks compared with Burgas controls. Occupational exposure to formaldehyde among furniture factory workers did not change levels of DNA-protein crosslinks in peripheral lymphocytes. DNA-protein crosslink measurements showed a low intraindividual variability and their levels among both controls and exposed indivduals were not affected by smoking, age or weight.

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