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Micronucleus frequencies in lymphocytes and reticulocytes in a pesticide-exposed population in Portugal.

Costa C; Silva S; Neves J; Coelho P; Costa S; Laffon B; Snawder J; Teixeira JP
J Toxicol Environ Health, A 2011 Aug; 74(15-16):960-970
A wide range of chemical products known to be acutely toxic is currently used in the agricultural sector, including numerous pesticides with different compositions. Nevertheless, the effects in human health as result of chronic exposure to low levels are not yet completely understood. The methodology for determination of micronuclei (MN) in lymphocytes (CBMN) is well established, and accumulating data demonstrated a correlation to enhanced risk of cancer development. However, analysis of MN in reticulocytes (MN-RET) in humans is a recent tool on human biomonitoring. The aim of this study was to examine the influence of pesticide exposure on MN-RET and CBMN frequencies. In total, 177 individuals were studied (93 controls and 84 exposed). All individuals included in the exposed group were exposed regularly to various chemicals. Both MN-RET and CBMN were significantly higher in the exposed subjects compared to controls. The CBMN frequencies were quantitatively higher in females than males, especially within the exposed group. Smoking habits exerted no marked influence on the frequency of the biomarkers studied. A significant and positive correlation was found between both indicators. Within the exposed group, data showed that there was a significant correlation between MN-RET and recent exposure (exposure in the previous 10 d) that is not found when considering CBMN. It is conceivable that due to the short life span of reticulocytes, MN-RET were found to be more reliable to characterize recent genetic damage as opposed to CBMN.
Pesticides; Pesticides-and-agricultural-chemicals; Pest-control; Humans; Men; Women; Biomarkers; Exposure-levels; Exposure-limits; Toxic-effects; Agricultural-chemicals; Agriculture; Cancer; Lymphocytes
Carla Costa, National Institute of Health, Environmental Health Department; Rua Alexandre Herculano, 321, 4000-055 Porto, Portugal
Publication Date
Document Type
Journal Article
Email Address
Fiscal Year
Issue of Publication
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Construction; Transportation, Warehousing and Utilities
Source Name
Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health, Part A: Current Issues
Page last reviewed: March 18, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division