Changes in poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation patterns in workers exposed to BTX.
Occupational exposure to (benzene, toluene and xylene, BTX is common in the Chinese workplace. Chronic occupational exposure to benzene is associated with an increased risk of hematological malignancies such as acute myeloid leukemia (AML), but the underlying mechanisms are still unclear. This study investigates changes in poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation and DNA methylation in subjects occupationally exposed to a BTX. Blood DNA samples and exposure data were obtained from subjects with different levels of exposure, including 132 decorators, 129 painters, and 130 unexposed referents in a container-manufacturing factory in Shenzhen, China. Occupational exposure assessment included personal monitoring of airborne benzene, toluene and xylene. Hematological parameters were measured and the cytokinesis-block micronucleus (CBMN) assay was used to detect DNA damage in peripheral lymphocytes. Quantitative real-time PCR was used to detect the mRNA expression of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP1) and poly(ADP-ribose) glycohydrolase (PARG), DNA methyltransferases (DNMTs) including DNMT1, DNMT3a and DNMT3b, methyl-CpG-binding domain protein 2(MBD2). PARP1 assay was used to measure PARP activity. Airborne levels of benzene, toluene and xylene in the two exposed groups were significantly higher than those of controls (P<0.001). The two exposed groups (decorators, painters) showed decreased PARP1, DNMTs and MBD2 expression relative to controls (P<0.05), and PARP activity was also decreased (P<0.05). Decreased PARP1, DNMT1, DNMT3a, DNMT3b and MBD2 mRNA expression was correlated with increased airborne BTX (Pearson's r: -0.587, -0.314, -0.636, -0.567 and -0.592 respectively, P<0.001). No significant differences in hematological parameters and CBMN were found among the three groups. Together, these results suggest that decreased DNMTs, MBD2 and PARP1 might be involved in the global hypomethylation associated with BTX exposure, and the imbalance of PARP/PARG might participate in the down-regulation of DNMTs. This is the first human study to link altered poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation patterns, which reproduce the aberrant epigenetic patterns found in benzene-treated cells, to chronic occupational exposure to BTX.