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Hum Exp Toxicol. 2003 Nov;22(11):565-74.

Paraoxonase activity and genetic polymorphisms in greenhouse workers with long term pesticide exposure.

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Department of Legal Medicine and Toxicology, University of Granada School of Medicine, Spain.


Serum paraoxonase (PON1) is a high-density lipoprotein (HDL) associated protein, which plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis, although it was primarily associated with the hydrolysis of organophosphorus compounds. PON1 was initially thought to be independent from physiological or pathological states, although recently some environmental factors have been reported to modulate its activity. In this study, we have investigated the promoter (PON1 -108C/T and -909 C/G) and coding region (PON1 192Q/R and 55L/M) polymorphisms, as well as PON1 activity towards different substrates (paraoxon, phenylacetate and diazoxon) in 102 individuals with long term low dose exposure to pesticides in a plastic greenhouse setting (sprayers), who are probably the group of agricultural workers with the highest exposure to pesticides. PON1 activity towards paraoxon was nonsignificantly decreased (up to 53.5%) in the sprayers subgroup exposed to organophosphates (n = 41) compared with nonsprayers acting as controls (n = 39). None of the genotypes studied was associated significantly with the subgroup of individuals exposed to organophosphates, although differences between sprayers and nonsprayers were observed in the PON1 -909 G/C polymorphism. Among the environmental factors that significantly predicted lower rates of PON1 activity towards paraoxon are, interestingly, the exposure to organophosphates and current smoking. By contrast, the utilization of protective clothing while spraying pesticides inside the greenhouses was positively associated with PON1 activity, very likely by preventing the pesticides from being absorbed. This study suggests that chronic exposure to pesticides might decrease PON1 activity and pinpoints the potential usefulness of monitoring PON1 activity in occupational settings where exposure to organophosphates occurs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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