[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Benzene exposure causes acute myeloid leukemia and hematotoxicity, shown as suppression of mature blood and myeloid progenitor cell numbers. As the leukemia-related aneuploidies monosomy 7 and trisomy 8 previously had been detected in the mature peripheral blood cells of exposed workers, we hypothesized that benzene could cause leukemia through the induction of these aneuploidies in hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells. We measured loss and gain of chromosomes 7 and 8 by fluorescence in situ hybridization in interphase colony-forming unit-granulocyte-macrophage (CFU-GM) cells cultured from otherwise healthy benzene-exposed (n=28) and unexposed (n=14) workers. CFU-GM monosomy 7 and 8 levels (but not trisomy) were significantly increased in subjects exposed to benzene overall, compared with levels in the control subjects (P=0.0055 and P=0.0034, respectively). Levels of monosomy 7 and 8 were significantly increased in subjects exposed to <10 p.p.m. (20%, P=0.0419 and 28%, P=0.0056, respectively) and 10 p.p.m. (48%, P=0.0045 and 32%, 0.0354) benzene, compared with controls, and significant exposure-response trends were detected (P(trend)=0.0033 and 0.0057). These data show that monosomies 7 and 8 are produced in a dose-dependent manner in the blood progenitor cells of workers exposed to benzene, and may be mechanistically relevant biomarkers of early effect for benzene and other leukemogens.Leukemia advance online publication, 22 June 2012; doi:10.1038/leu.2012.143.
Leukemia: official journal of the Leukemia Society of America, Leukemia Research Fund, U.K 05/2012; · 10.16 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Benzene is an established cause of leukemia, and possibly lymphoma, in humans, but the underlying molecular pathways remain largely undetermined. We used two microarray platforms to identify global gene expression changes associated with well-characterized occupational benzene exposure in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of a population of shoe-factory workers. Differential expression of 2692 genes (Affymetrix) and 1828 genes (Illumina) was found and the concordance was 50% (based on an average fold-change > or =1.3 from the two platforms), with similar expression ratios among the concordant genes. Four genes (CXCL16, ZNF331, JUN and PF4), which we previously identified by microarray and confirmed by real-time PCR, were among the top 100 genes identified by both platforms in the current study. Gene ontology analysis showed overrepresentation of genes involved in apoptosis among the concordant genes while pathway analysis identified pathways related to lipid metabolism. The two-platform approach allows for robust changes in the PBMC transcriptome of benzene-exposed individuals to be identified.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Benzene is an established human carcinogen, producing leukemia, hematotoxicity and perhaps lymphoma. Its carcinogenicity is most likely dependent upon its conversion to phenol and hydroquinone, the latter being oxidized to the highly toxic 1,4-benzoquinone in the bone marrow. Exposure of human lymphocytes and cell lines to hydroquinone has previously been shown to cause various forms of genetic damage, including aneusomy and the loss and gain of chromosomes. However, the target cells for leukemogenesis are the pluripotent stem cells or early progenitor cells which carry the CD34 antigen (CD34(+) cells). In this study, human cord blood, which is particularly rich in CD34(+) cells, was exposed to hydroquinone for 72 h in a medium that favored CD34(+) cell survival and growth. CD34(+) and CD34(-) cells were then isolated. Fluorescence in situ hybridization was employed to determine the level of aneusomy of chromosomes 7 and 8 in both cell types. CD34(+) cells were generally more susceptible to aneusomy induction by hydroquinone than CD34(-) cells. Increased trisomy and monosomy of chromosomes 7 and 8 were observed in CD34(+) cells (P(trend) < 0.001), whereas in CD34(-) cells only an increased level of monosomy 7 was detected (P(trend) = 0.002). Particularly striking effects of hydroquinone were observed in CD34(+) cells on monosomy 7 and trisomy 8, two common clonal aberrations found in myeloid leukemias, suggesting that these aneusomies produced by hydroquinone in CD34(+) cells play a role in benzene-induced leukemogenesis.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Toxicogenomic studies, including genome-wide analyses of susceptibility genes (genomics), gene expression (transcriptomics), protein expression (proteomics), and epigenetic modifications (epigenomics), of human populations exposed to benzene are crucial to understanding gene-environment interactions, providing the ability to develop biomarkers of exposure, early effect and susceptibility. Comprehensive analysis of these toxicogenomic and epigenomic profiles by bioinformatics in the context of phenotypic endpoints, comprises systems biology, which has the potential to comprehensively define the mechanisms by which benzene causes leukemia. We have applied this approach to a molecular epidemiology study of workers exposed to benzene. Hematotoxicity, a significant decrease in almost all blood cell counts, was identified as a phenotypic effect of benzene that occurred even below 1 ppm benzene exposure. We found a significant decrease in the formation of progenitor colonies arising from bone marrow stem cells with increasing benzene exposure, showing that progenitor cells are more sensitive to the effects of benzene than mature blood cells, likely leading to the observed hematotoxicity. Analysis of transcriptomics by microarray in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells of exposed workers, identified genes and pathways (apoptosis, immune response, and inflammatory response) altered at high (>10 ppm) and low (<1 ppm) benzene levels. Serum proteomics by SELDI-TOF-MS revealed proteins consistently down-regulated in exposed workers. Preliminary epigenomics data showed effects of benzene on the DNA methylation of specific genes. Genomic screens for candidate genes involved in susceptibility to benzene toxicity are being undertaken in yeast, with subsequent confirmation by RNAi in human cells, to expand upon the findings from candidate gene analyses. Data on these and future biomarkers will be used to populate a large toxicogenomics database, to which we will apply bioinformatic approaches to understand the interactions among benzene toxicity, susceptibility genes, mRNA, and DNA methylation through a systems biology approach.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There are concerns about the health effects of formaldehyde exposure, including carcinogenicity, in light of elevated indoor air levels in new homes and occupational exposures experienced by workers in health care, embalming, manufacturing, and other industries. Epidemiologic studies suggest that formaldehyde exposure is associated with an increased risk of leukemia. However, the biological plausibility of these findings has been questioned because limited information is available on the ability of formaldehyde to disrupt hematopoietic function. Our objective was to determine if formaldehyde exposure disrupts hematopoietic function and produces leukemia-related chromosome changes in exposed humans. We examined the ability of formaldehyde to disrupt hematopoiesis in a study of 94 workers in China (43 exposed to formaldehyde and 51 frequency-matched controls) by measuring complete blood counts and peripheral stem/progenitor cell colony formation. Further, myeloid progenitor cells, the target for leukemogenesis, were cultured from the workers to quantify the level of leukemia-specific chromosome changes, including monosomy 7 and trisomy 8, in metaphase spreads of these cells. Among exposed workers, peripheral blood cell counts were significantly lowered in a manner consistent with toxic effects on the bone marrow and leukemia-specific chromosome changes were significantly elevated in myeloid blood progenitor cells. These findings suggest that formaldehyde exposure can have an adverse effect on the hematopoietic system and that leukemia induction by formaldehyde is biologically plausible, which heightens concerns about its leukemogenic potential from occupational and environmental exposures.