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Chemosphere. 2016 Apr;149:8-13. doi: 10.1016/j.chemosphere.2016.01.083. Epub 2016 Feb 1.

Overexpression of miR-221 in peripheral blood lymphocytes in petrol station attendants: A population based cross-sectional study in southern China.

Author information

1
Department of Toxicology, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Tropical Disease Research, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Southern Medical University, 1023 S. Shatai Road, Guangzhou 510515, China. Electronic address: gdhdl@163.com.
2
Department of Environment and Health, South China Institute of Environmental Sciences, Ministry of Environmental Protection, 7 S. East Yuancun Road, Guangzhou 510655, China.
3
Department of Toxicology, Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Tropical Disease Research, School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, Southern Medical University, 1023 S. Shatai Road, Guangzhou 510515, China.
4
Department of Toxicology, School of Public Health, Guangdong Medical College, 1 S. Xincheng Road, Science Park of Songshanhu Lake, Dongguan 523808, China.
5
Department of Toxicology, Shenzhen Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 S. Longyuan Road, Shenzhen 518055, China.
6
Department of Occupational Health, Baoan Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 116 S. Longjing Road, Shenzhen 518101, China.

Abstract

Benzene is a recognized environmental leukemogen, however, the mechanisms for its carcinogenesis have not been fully elucidated. Recently, miR-221, a suggested oncogene involved in a number of malignancies, has been detected with elevated expression levels in blood cells of patients with leukemia. To explore whether benzene exposure has an effect on the expression of miR-221, a population based cross-sectional study was conducted in southern China, with 97 petrol station attendants as the exposure group and 103 general residents as the control group. Plasma benzene was analyzed by using GC∖MS. miR-221 in peripheral blood lymphocytes were measured by qRT-PCR and the ΔCt value for each sample was calculated by normalizing the Ct value for miR-221 with U6 RNA (i.e., ΔCt = CtmiR-221 - CtU6). Potential confounding factors were taken into account. Pearson correlation, univariate and multivariate logistic regression were performed in statistical analysis. The results showed that the air concentrations of benzene were significantly higher in petrol stations than in control sites (P < 0.05); The levels of benzene and miR-221 in exposure group were both significantly higher than in control group (P < 0.05) and there was a significant positive correlation between the two indexes (r = 0.851, P < 0.05); An association between benzene levels and the ΔCt values for miR-221 was identified by univariate and multivariate logistic analysis (OR 0.274; 95%CI 0.117, 0.396). Our investigation indicates that benzene exposure may be related to elevated miR-221 expression in human lymphocytes.

KEYWORDS:

Benzene; Lymphocyte; Mechanisms; Toxicology; miR-221

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