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Oxidative stress and DNA damage in agricultural workers.

Kisby GE; Muniz JF; Scherer J; Lasarev MR; Koshy M; Kow YW; McCauley L
J Agromedicine 2009 Apr; 14(2):206-214
Oxidative stress and DNA damage have been proposed as mechanisms linking pesticide exposure to health effects such as cancer and neurological diseases. A pilot study of pesticide applicators and farm workers working in the fruit orchards of Oregon (i.e., apples, pears) was conducted to examine the relationship between organophosphate (OP) pesticide exposure and oxidative stress and DNA damage. Urine samples were analyzed for OP metabolites and 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosine (8-OH-dG). Lymphocytes were analyzed for oxidative DNA repair activity and DNA damage (Comet assay) and serum analyzed for lipid peroxides (i.e., malondialdehyde [MDA]). Cellular DNA damage in agricultural workers was validated using lymphocyte cell cultures. Urinary OP metabolites were significantly higher in farm workers and applicators (p < .001) when compared to controls. 8-OH-dG levels were 8.5 times and 2.3 times higher in farm workers and applicators, respectively, than in controls. Serum MDA levels were 4.9 times and 24 times higher in farm workers and applicators, respectively, than in controls. DNA damage and oxidative DNA repair were significantly greater in lymphocytes from applicators and farm workers when compared with controls. A separate field study showed that DNA damage was also significantly greater (p < .001) in buccal cells (i.e., leukocytes) collected from migrant farm workers working with fungicides in the berry crops in Oregon. Markers of oxidative stress (i.e., reactive oxygen species, reduced levels of glutathione) and oxidative DNA damage were also observed in lymphocyte cell cultures treated with an OP. The findings from these in vivo and in vitro studies indicate that pesticides induce oxidative stress and DNA damage in agricultural workers. These biomarkers may be useful for increasing our understanding of the link between pesticides and cancer.
Absorption-rates; Agricultural-chemicals; Agricultural-workers; Agriculture; Carcinogenicity; Cell-biology; Cell-damage; Chemical-hypersensitivity; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Exposure-methods; Health-hazards; Nerve-damage; Neurological-reactions; Neurological-system; Neurotoxic-effects; Occupational-exposure; Occupational-hazards; Occupational-health; Oxidation; Oxidative-processes; Pesticides; Author Keywords: Apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease (APE); comet assay; fungicides; glutathione; malondialdehyde (MDA); organophosphate pesticides; oral leukocytes; reactive oxygen species (ROS); 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OH-dG)
Glen E. Kisby, Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon 97201
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Funding Type
Grant; Cooperative Agreement
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Cooperative-Agreement-Number-U50-OH-007544; Grant-Number-R13-OH-009571
Issue of Publication
Priority Area
Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
Source Name
Journal of Agromedicine
Performing Organization
University of Washington
Page last reviewed: May 13, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division