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Neuro Endocrinol Lett. 2006 Dec;27 Suppl 2:100-3.

Genetic predisposition and health effect of occupational exposure to asbestos.

Horská A, Kazimírová A, Barancoková M, Wsólová L, Tulinská J, Dusinská M.

Research Base of Slovak Medical University, Bratislava, Slovakia.

OBJECTIVES: As asbestos presents a direct genetic hazard for humans, a small-scale molecular epidemiological study was conducted to monitor 61 subjects long-term exposed to asbestos in comparison with 49 town controls and 21 control subjects from administration of the same factory.

RESULTS: Asbestos exposed workers had significantly higher numbers of chromosomal aberrations compared with both control groups (P=0.003). Clinical examination showed that 44.3% of exposed workers developed symptoms of asbestosis. We were interested in the relationship between the risk of asbestos-coupled diseases and individual variability in biotransformation enzymes, especially in glutathione S-transferases and microsomal epoxide hydrolase. GSTP1*105Val allele appeared less in the group of workers with asbestosis compared to those without asbestosis (18.5% vs 34.7%, P=0.044), and in subjects with developed asbestosis coupled with bronchitis compared to those without bronchitis (0% vs 25%, P=0.048). Similarly, the genotype corresponding to low activity of microsomal epoxide hydrolase was significantly decreased in workers with fibrotic plaques compared to those without plaques (26.7% vs 56.3%, P=0.045).

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that GSTP1*105Val allele and low EPHX1 activity genotype may be protective for people occupationally exposed to asbestos. However, more extensive studies are needed to confirm our results.