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Interphase cytogenetics of workers exposed to benzene.

  • Author(s): Zhang, L
  • Rothman, N
  • Wang, Y
  • Hayes, RB
  • Bechtold, W
  • Venkatesh, P
  • Yin, S
  • Wang, Y
  • Dosemeci, M
  • Li, G
  • Lu, W
  • Smith, MT
  • et al.
Abstract

Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) is a powerful new technique that allows numerical chromosome aberrations (aneuploidy) to be detected in interphase cells. In previous studies, FISH has been used to demonstrate that the benzene metabolites hydroquinone and 1,2,4-benzenetriol induce aneuploidy of chromosomes 7 and 9 in cultures of human cells. In the present study, we used an interphase FISH procedure to perform cytogenetic analyses on the blood cells of 43 workers exposed to benzene (median = 31 ppm, 8-hr time-weighted average) and 44 matched controls from Shanghai, China. High benzene exposure (> 31 ppm, n = 22) increased the hyperdiploid frequency of chromosome 9 (p < 0.01), but lower exposure (< or = 31 ppm, n = 21) did not. Trisomy 9 was the major form of benzene-induced hyperdiploidy. The level of hyperploidy in exposed workers correlated with their urinary phenol level (r = 0.58, p < 0.0001), a measure of internal benzene dose. A significant correlation was also found between hyperdiploidy and decreased absolute lymphocyte count, an indicator of benzene hematotoxicity, in the exposed group (r = -0.44, p = 0.003) but not in controls (r = -0.09, p = 0.58). These results show that high benzene exposure induces aneuploidy of chromosome 9 in nondiseased individuals, with trisomy being the most prevalent form. They further highlight the usefulness of interphase cytogenetics and FISH for the rapid and sensitive detection of aneuploidy in exposed human populations.

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