Occupational exposure of workers to pesticides: Toxicogenetics and susceptibility gene polymorphisms


Genet. Mol. Biol.




Farm workers are often exposed to pesticides, which are products belonging to a specific chemical group that affects the health of agricultural workers and is mostly recognized as genotoxic and carcinogenic. The exposure of workers from Piauí, Brazil, to these hazardous chemicals was assessed and cytogenetic alterations were evaluated using the buccal micronucleus assay, hematological and lipid parameters, butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) activity and genetic polymorphisms of enzymes involved in the metabolism of pesticides, such as PON1, as well as of the DNA repair system (OGG1, XRCC1 and XRCC4). Two groups of farm workers exposed to different types of pesticides were evaluated and compared to matched non-exposed control groups. A significant increase was observed in the frequencies of micronuclei, kariorrhexis, karyolysis and binucleated cells in the exposed groups (n = 100) compared to controls (n = 100). No differences were detected regarding the hematological parameters, lipid profile and BChE activity. No significant difference was observed either regarding DNA damage or nuclear fragmentation when specific metabolizing and DNA repair genotypes were investigated in the exposed groups.

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