Epidemiological studies suggest that trichloroethylene (TCE) exposure may be associated with renal cancer. The biological mechanisms involved are not exactly known although nephrotoxicity is believed to play a role. Studies on TCE nephrotoxicity among humans, however, have been largely inconsistent. We studied kidney toxicity in Chinese factory workers exposed to TCE using novel sensitive nephrotoxicity markers. Eighty healthy workers exposed to TCE and 45 comparable unexposed controls were included in the present analyses. Personal TCE exposure measurements were taken over a 2-week period before urine collection. Ninety-six percent of workers were exposed to TCE below the current US Occupational Safety and Health Administration permissible exposure limit (100 ppm 8h TWA), with a mean (SD) of 22.2 (35.9) ppm. Kidney injury molecule-1 (KIM-1) and Pi-glutathione S transferase (GST) alpha were elevated among the exposed subjects as compared with the unexposed controls with a strong exposure-response association between individual estimates of TCE exposure and KIM-1 (P < 0.0001). This is the first report to use a set of sensitive nephrotoxicity markers to study the possible effects of TCE on the kidneys. The findings suggest that at relatively low occupational exposure levels a toxic effect on the kidneys can be observed. This finding supports the biological plausibility of linking TCE exposure and renal cancer.
Abbreviations:GSTglutathione-S-transferaseKIM-1kidney injury molecule-1NAGN-acetyl-beta-(d)-glucosaminidaseOVMorganic vapour monitoringTCEtrichloroethyleneVEGFvascular endothelial growth factor.
Cancers are heterogeneous and genetically unstable. New methods are needed that provide the sensitivity and specificity to query single cells at the genetic loci that drive cancer progression, thereby enabling researchers to study the progression of individual tumors. Here, we report the development and application of a bead-based hemi-nested microfluidic droplet digital PCR (dPCR) technology to achieve ‘quantitative’ measurement and single-molecule sequencing of somatically acquired carcinogenic translocations at extremely low levels (<10−6) in healthy subjects. We use this technique in our healthy study population to determine the overall concentration of the t(14;18) translocation, which is strongly associated with follicular lymphoma. The nested dPCR approach improves the detection limit to 1 × 10−7 or lower while maintaining the analysis efficiency and specificity. Further, the bead-based dPCR enabled us to isolate and quantify the relative amounts of the various clonal forms of t(14;18) translocation in these subjects, and the single-molecule sensitivity and resolution of dPCR led to the discovery of new clonal forms of t(14;18) that were otherwise masked by the conventional quantitative PCR measurements. In this manner, we created a quantitative map for this carcinogenic mutation in this healthy population and identified the positions on chromosomes 14 and 18 where the vast majority of these t(14;18) events occur.
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 to 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 ppm (20%, p=0.0419 and 28%, p=0.0056, respectively) and ≥10 ppm (48%, p=0.0045 and 32%, p=0.0354) benzene, compared with controls, and significant exposure-response trends were detected (ptrend=0.0033 and 0.0057). These data show that monosomies 7 and 8 are produced in a dose-dependent fashion in the blood progenitor cells of workers exposed to benzene and may be mechanistically relevant biomarkers of early effect for benzene and other leukemogens.
Benzene; leukemia; monosomy; hematopoietic progenitor
Follicular lymphoma (FL) is an indolent, sometimes fatal disease characterized by recurrence at progressively shorter intervals and is frequently refractive to therapy. Genome-wide association studies have identified SNPs in the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) region on chromosome 6p21.32–33 that are statistically significantly associated with FL risk. Low to medium resolution typing of single or multiple HLA genes has provided an incomplete picture of the total genetic risk imparted by this highly variable region. To gain further insight into the role of HLA alleles in lymphomagenesis and to investigate the independence of validated SNPs and HLA alleles with FL risk, high-resolution HLA typing was conducted using next-generation sequencing in 222 non-Hispanic white FL cases and 220 matched controls from a larger San Francisco Bay Area population-based case-control study of lymphoma. A novel protective association was found between the DPB1*03:01 allele and FL risk (OR=0.39, 95% CI 0.21–0.68). Extended haplotypes DRB1*01:01-DQA1*01:01-DQB1*05:01 (OR=2.01, 95% CI 1.22–3.38) and DRB1*15-DQA1*01-DQB1*06 (OR=0.55, 95% CI 0.36–0.82) also influenced FL risk. Moreover, DRB1*15-DQA1*01-DQB1*06 was highly correlated with an established FL risk locus, rs2647012. These results provide further insight into the critical roles of HLA alleles and SNPs in FL pathogenesis that involve multi-locus effects across the HLA region.
follicular lymphoma; HLA; genetic risk factors; next-generation sequencing
Background: The suitability for omic analysis of biosamples collected in previous decades and currently stored in biobanks is unknown.
Objectives: We evaluated the influence of handling and storage conditions of blood-derived biosamples on transcriptomic, epigenomic (CpG methylation), plasma metabolomic [UPLC-ToFMS (ultra performance liquid chromatography–time-of-flight mass spectrometry)], and wide-target proteomic profiles.
Methods: We collected fresh blood samples without RNA preservative in heparin, EDTA, or citrate and held them at room temperature for ≤ 24 hr before fractionating them into buffy coat, erythrocytes, and plasma and freezing the fractions at –80oC or in liquid nitrogen. We developed methodology for isolating RNA from the buffy coats and conducted omic analyses. Finally, we analyzed analogous samples from the EPIC-Italy and Northern Sweden Health and Disease Study biobanks.
Results: Microarray-quality RNA could be isolated from buffy coats (including most biobank samples) that had been frozen within 8 hr of blood collection by thawing the samples in RNA preservative. Different anticoagulants influenced the metabolomic, proteomic, and to a lesser extent transcriptomic profiles. Transcriptomic profiles were most affected by the delay (as little as 2 hr) before blood fractionation, whereas storage temperature had minimal impact. Effects on metabolomic and proteomic profiles were noted in samples processed ≥ 8 hr after collection, but no effects were due to storage temperature. None of the variables examined significantly influenced the epigenomic profiles. No systematic influence of time-in-storage was observed in samples stored over a period of 13–17 years.
Conclusions: Most samples currently stored in biobanks are amenable to meaningful omics analysis, provided that they satisfy collection and storage criteria defined in this study.
biomarkers; epigenomics; metabolomics; metabonomics; molecular epidemiology; proteomics; transcriptomics
Benzo[a]pyrene (BaP) is a ubiquitous, potent, and complete carcinogen resulting from incomplete organic combustion. BaP can form DNA adducts but other mechanisms may play a role in toxicity. We used a functional toxicology approach in S. cerevisiae to assess the genetic requirements for cellular resistance to BaP. In addition, we examined translational activities of key genes involved in various stress response pathways. We identified multiple genes and processes involved in modulating BaP toxicity in yeast which support DNA damage as a primary mechanism of toxicity, but also identify other potential toxicity pathways. Gene ontology enrichment analysis indicated that DNA damage and repair as well as redox homeostasis and oxidative stress are key processes in cellular response to BaP suggesting a similar mode of action of BaP in yeast and mammals. Interestingly, toxicant export is also implicated as a potential novel modulator of cellular susceptibility. In particular, we identified several transporters with human orthologs (solute carrier family 22) which may play a role in mammalian systems.
benzo[a]pyrene; toxicity; yeast; stress; resistance; sensitivity; S-9; ontology
Benzene causes acute myeloid leukemia and probably other hematological malignancies. As benzene also causes hematotoxicity even in workers exposed to levels below the US permissible occupational exposure limit of 1 part per million, further assessment of the health risks associated with its exposure, particularly at low levels, is needed. Here, we describe the probable mechanism by which benzene induces leukemia involving the targeting of critical genes and pathways through the induction of genetic, chromosomal or epigenetic abnormalities and genomic instability, in a hematopoietic stem cell (HSC); stromal cell dysregulation; apoptosis of HSCs and stromal cells and altered proliferation and differentiation of HSCs. These effects modulated by benzene-induced oxidative stress, aryl hydrocarbon receptor dysregulation and reduced immunosurveillance, lead to the generation of leukemic stem cells and subsequent clonal evolution to leukemia. A mode of action (MOA) approach to the risk assessment of benzene was recently proposed. This approach is limited, however, by the challenges of defining a simple stochastic MOA of benzene-induced leukemogenesis and of identifying relevant and quantifiable parameters associated with potential key events. An alternative risk assessment approach is the application of toxicogenomics and systems biology in human populations, animals and in vitro models of the HSC stem cell niche, exposed to a range of levels of benzene. These approaches will inform our understanding of the mechanisms of benzene toxicity and identify additional biomarkers of exposure, early effect and susceptibility useful for risk assessment.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Geroscience Interest Group (GSIG) sponsored workshop, The Role of Inflammation in Age-Related Disease, was held September 6th-7th, 2012 in Bethesda, MD. It is now recognized that a mild pro-inflammatory state is correlated with the major degenerative diseases of the elderly. The focus of the workshop was to better understand the origins and consequences of this low level chronic inflammation in order to design appropriate interventional studies aimed at improving healthspan. Four sessions explored the intrinsic, environmental exposures and immune pathways by which chronic inflammation are generated, sustained, and lead to age-associated diseases. At the conclusion of the workshop recommendations to accelerate progress toward understanding the mechanistic bases of chronic disease were identified.
Connexins are a widespread family of membrane proteins that assemble into hexameric hemichannels, also known as connexons. Connexons regulate membrane permeability in individual cells or couple between adjacent cells to form gap junctions and thereby provide a pathway for regulated intercellular communication. We have now examined the role of connexins in platelets, blood cells that circulate in isolation, but upon tissue injury adhere to each other and the vessel wall to prevent blood loss and facilitate wound repair.
Methods and Results
We report the presence of connexins in platelets, notably connexin37, and that the formation of gap junctions within platelet thrombi is required for the control of clot retraction. Inhibition of connexin function modulated a range of platelet functional responses prior to platelet-platelet contact, and reduced laser induced thrombosis in vivo in mice. Deletion of the Cx37 gene (Gja4) in transgenic mice reduced platelet aggregation, fibrinogen binding, granule secretion and clot retraction indicating an important role for Cx37 hemichannels and gap junctions in platelet thrombus function.
Together, these data demonstrate that platelet gap junctions and hemichannels underpin the control of haemostasis and thrombosis and represent potential therapeutic targets.
Connexin37; Gap junction; Haemostasis; Platelets; Thrombosis
Werner syndrome is a progeroid disorder caused by mutations of the WRN gene. The encoded WRN protein belongs to the family of RecQ helicases that plays a role in the maintenance of genomic stability. Single nucleotide polymorphisms in WRN have been associated with an increased risk for some cancers and were recently linked to benzene hematotoxicity. To further address the role of WRN in benzene toxicity, we employed RNA interference (RNAi) to silence endogenous WRN in HeLa cells and examined the susceptibility of these WRN-depleted cells to the toxic effects of the benzene metabolite hydroquinone. HeLa cells were used as the experimental model because RNAi is highly effective in this system producing almost complete depletion of the target protein. Depletion of WRN led to a decrease in cell proliferation and an enhanced susceptibility to hydroquinone cytotoxicity as revealed by an increase in necrosis. WRN-depleted HeLa cells treated with hydroquinone also displayed an increase in the amount of DNA double strand breaks as determined by the Comet assay, and an elevated DNA damage response as indicated by the 7-fold induction of γH2AX and acetyl-p53 (Lys373 and Lys382) over control levels. Together, these results show that WRN plays an important role in the protection of HeLa cells against the toxicity of the benzene metabolite hydroquinone, specifically in mounting a normal DNA damage response following the induction of DNA double-strand breaks. Further studies in bone marrow-derived stem or progenitor cells are required to confirm our findings in HeLa cells and expand our ability to extrapolate the results to benzene toxicity in humans.
RNA interference; siRNA; γH2AX; p53; leukemia; lymphoma; DNA repair; strand breaks
Benzene exposure is associated with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), and probably lymphoma and childhood leukemia. Biological plausibility for a causal role of benzene in these diseases comes from its toxicity to hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) or progenitor cells, from which all leukemias and related disorders arise. The effect of this toxicity is manifest as lowered blood counts (hematotoxicity), even in individuals occupationally exposed to low levels of benzene. Benzene can induce AML/MDS via several well-characterized pathways associated with these diseases. Through its metabolites, benzene induces multiple alterations that likely contribute to the leukemogenic process, and appears to operate via multiple modes of action. To improve mechanistic understanding and for risk assessment purposes, it may be possible to measure several of the key events in these modes of action in an in vitro model of the bone marrow stem cell niche. Even though benzene is leukemogenic at relatively low occupational levels of exposure, it seems unlikely that it is a major cause of leukemia in the general population exposed to benzene in the ppb range. Other established non-genetic causes of AML, e.g. smoking, ionizing radiation and cancer chemotherapy, also only explain about 20% of AML incidence, leaving ~80% unexplained. The question arises as to how to find the causes of the majority of de novo AMLs that remain unexplained. We propose that we should attempt to characterize the ‘exposome’ of human leukemia by using unbiased laboratory-based methods to find the unknown ‘environmental’ factors that contribute to leukemia etiology.
Benzene; leukemia; myeloid; AML; mode of action; mechanism; blood; biomarker; metabolism; hydroquinone; stem cell niche
Many effective options exist to accurately type DNA for HLA alleles. However, most of the existing methods are excessively costly in terms of overall monetary costs, DNA requirements, and proprietary software. We present a novel assay able to resolve heterozygous HLA-DQB1 allelotypes at two digits, with even greater specificity for the HLA-DQB1*06 allele family, by using the multiplexed ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA) technology. This assay provides more specific allele data than genome-wide analysis and is more affordable than sequencing, making it a useful intermediate for researchers seeking to accurately allelotype human DNA samples.
DQB1; genotyping; MHC class II; MLPA
Background: Heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) has previously been co-purified with P2X1 receptors for ATP.
Results: P2X1 receptor trafficking and responses (currents and calcium rises) were reduced by HSP90 inhibitors.
Conclusion: P2X1 receptors are constitutively regulated by HSP90.
Significance: In addition to a role in cancer treatment, HSP90 inhibitors may provide protection from thrombosis.
We have used selective inhibitors to determine whether the molecular chaperone heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) has an effect on both recombinant and native human P2X1 receptors. P2X1 receptor currents in HEK293 cells were reduced by ∼70–85% by the selective HSP90 inhibitor geldanamycin (2 μm, 20 min). This was associated with a speeding in the time course of desensitization as well as a reduction in cell surface expression. Imaging in real time of photoactivatable GFP-tagged P2X receptors showed that they are highly mobile. Geldanamycin almost abolished this movement for P2X1 receptors but had no effect on P2X2 receptor trafficking. P2X1/2 receptor chimeras showed that the intracellular N and C termini were involved in geldanamycin sensitivity. Geldanamycin also inhibited native P2X1 receptor-mediated responses. Platelet P2X1 receptors play an important role in hemostasis, contribute to amplification of signaling to a range of stimuli including collagen, and are novel targets for antithrombotic therapies. Platelet P2X1 receptor-, but not P2Y1 receptor-, mediated increases in intracellular calcium were reduced by 40–45% following HSP90 inhibition with geldanamycin or radicicol. Collagen stimulation leads to ATP release from platelets, and calcium increases to low doses of collagen were also reduced by ∼40% by the HSP90 inhibitors consistent with an effect on P2X1 receptors. These studies suggest that HSP90 inhibitors may be as effective as selective antagonists in regulating platelet P2X1 receptors, and their potential effects on hemostasis should be considered in clinical studies.
Collagen; Electrophysiology; HSP90; Platelets; Purinergic Receptor; Trafficking; Calcium; Patch Clamp
Characterization of toxicogenomic signatures of carcinogen exposure holds significant promise for mechanistic and predictive toxicology. In vitro transcriptomic studies allow the comparison of the response to chemicals with diverse mode of actions under controlled experimental conditions. We conducted an in vitro study in TK6 cells to characterize gene expression signatures of exposure to 15 genotoxic carcinogens frequently used in European industries. We also examined the dose-responsive changes in gene expression, and perturbation of biochemical pathways in response to these carcinogens. TK6 cells were exposed at 3 dose levels for 24 h with and without S9 human metabolic mix. Since S9 had an impact on gene expression (885 genes), we analyzed the gene expression data from cells cultures incubated with S9 and without S9 independently. The ribosome pathway was affected by all chemical-dose combinations. However in general, no similar gene expression was observed among carcinogens. Further, pathways, i.e. cell cycle, DNA repair mechanisms, RNA degradation, that were common within sets of chemical-dose combination were suggested by clustergram. Linear trends in dose–response of gene expression were observed for Trichloroethylene, Benz[a]anthracene, Epichlorohydrin, Benzene, and Hydroquinone. The significantly altered genes were involved in the regulation of (anti-) apoptosis, maintenance of cell survival, tumor necrosis factor-related pathways and immune response, in agreement with several other studies. Similarly in S9+ cultures, Benz[a]pyrene, Styrene and Trichloroethylene each modified over 1000 genes at high concentrations. Our findings expand our understanding of the transcriptomic response to genotoxic carcinogens, revealing the alteration of diverse sets of genes and pathways involved in cellular homeostasis and cell cycle control.
In a recent genome-wide association study of follicular lymphoma (FL), we identified novel risk alleles on chromosome 6p21.33 that appeared to be part of an extended haplotype including HLA-DRB1*0101, DQA1*0101, and DQB1*0501. To follow up on these findings, we obtained 2–4 digit HLA-DQB1 allelotypes on a subset of 265 FL cases and 757 controls using a novel assay that applies multiplexed ligation-dependent probe amplification (MLPA). We confirmed a positive association between FL and the HLA-DQB1*05 allele group (OR=1.70, 95% CI 1.28–2.27; adjusted p-value=0.013) and also identified an allele group inversely associated with FL risk, HLA-DQB1*06 (OR=0.51, 95% CI 0.38–0.69; adjusted p-value=4.46×10−5). Although these findings require verification, the role of HLA class II proteins in B-cell survival and proliferation make this a biologically plausible association.
follicular lymphoma; MHC; HLA; DQ; NHL
Evidence suggests that de novo, therapy-related and benzene-induced acute myeloid leukemias (AML) occur via similar cytogenetic and genetic pathways, several of which involve aneuploidy, the loss or gain of chromosomes. Aneuploidy of specific chromosomes has been detected in benzene-related leukemia patients as well as in healthy benzene-exposed workers, suggesting that aneuploidy precedes and may be a potential mechanism underlying benzene-induced leukemia. Here, we analyzed the peripheral blood lymphocytes of 47 exposed workers and 27 unexposed controls using a novel OctoChrome fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) technique that simultaneously detects aneuploidy in all 24 chromosomes. Through this chromosome-wide aneuploidy study (CWAS) approach, we found heterogeneity in the monosomy and trisomy rates of the 22 autosomes when plotted against continuous benzene exposure. In addition, statistically significant, chromosome-specific increases in the rates of monosomy [5, 6, 7, 10, 16 and 19] and trisomy [5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 14, 16, 21 and 22] were found to be dose dependently associated with benzene exposure. Furthermore, significantly higher rates of monosomy and trisomy were observed in a priori defined ‘susceptible’ chromosome sets compared with all other chromosomes. Together, these findings confirm that benzene exposure is associated with specific chromosomal aneuploidies in hematopoietic cells, which suggests that such aneuploidies may play roles in benzene-induced leukemogenesis.
Background and Objective
Muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRs) are 7-transmembrane, G protein-coupled receptors that regulate a variety of physiological processes and represent potentially important targets for therapeutic intervention. mAChRs can be stimulated by full and partial orthosteric and allosteric agonists, however the relative abilities of such ligands to induce conformational changes in the receptor remain unclear. To gain further insight into the actions of mAChR agonists, we have developed a fluorescently tagged M1 mAChR that reports ligand-induced conformational changes in real-time by changes in Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET).
Variants of CFP and YFP were inserted into the third intracellular loop and at the end of the C-terminus of the mouse M1 mAChR, respectively. The optimized FRET receptor construct (M1-cam5) was expressed stably in HEK293 cells.
The variant CFP/YFP-receptor chimera expressed predominantly at the plasma membrane of HEK293 cells and displayed ligand-binding affinities comparable with those of the wild-type receptor. It also retained an ability to interact with Gαq/11 proteins and to stimulate phosphoinositide turnover, ERK1/2 phosphorylation and undergo agonist-dependent internalization. Addition of the full agonist methacholine caused a reversible decrease in M1 FRET (FEYFP/FECFP) that was prevented by atropine pre-addition and showed concentration-dependent amplitude and kinetics. Partial orthosteric agonists, arecoline and pilocarpine, as well as allosteric agonists, AC-42 and 77-LH-28-1, also caused atropine-sensitive decreases in the FRET signal, which were smaller in amplitude and significantly slower in onset compared to those evoked by methacholine.
The M1 FRET-based receptor chimera reports that allosteric and orthosteric agonists induce similar conformational changes in the third intracellular loop and/or C-terminus, and should prove to be a valuable molecular reagent for pharmacological and structural investigations of M1 mAChR activation.
Recent genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have identified several gene variants associated with sporadic chronic lymphocytic leukemia/small lymphocytic lymphoma (CLL/SLL). Many of these CLL/SLL susceptibility loci are located in non-coding or intergenic regions, posing a significant challenge to determine their potential functional relevance. Here, we review the literature of all CLL/SLL GWAS and validation studies, and apply eQTL analysis to identify putatively functional SNPs that affect gene expression that may be causal in the pathogenesis of CLL/SLL. We tested 12 independent risk loci for their potential to alter gene expression through cis-acting mechanisms, using publicly available gene expression profiles with matching genotype information. Sixteen SNPs were identified that are linked to differential expression of SP140, a putative tumor suppressor gene previously associated with CLL/SLL. Three additional SNPs were associated with differential expression of DACT3 and GNG8, which are involved in the WNT/β-catenin- and G protein-coupled receptor signaling pathways, respectively, that have been previously implicated in CLL/SLL pathogenesis. Using in silico functional prediction tools, we found that 14 of the 19 significant eQTL SNPs lie in multiple putative regulatory elements, several of which have prior implications in CLL/SLL or other hematological malignancies. Although experimental validation is needed, our study shows that the use of existing GWAS data in combination with eQTL analysis and in silico methods represents a useful starting point to screen for putatively causal SNPs that may be involved in the etiology of CLL/SLL.
Gene-environment interactions contribute to complex disease development. The environmental contribution, in particular low-level and prevalent environmental exposures, may constitute much of the risk and contribute substantially to disease. Systematic risk evaluation of the majority of human chemical exposures, has not been conducted and is a goal of regulatory agencies in the U.S. and worldwide. With the recent recognition that toxicological approaches more predictive of effects in humans are required for risk assessment, in vitro human cell line data as well as animal data are being used to identify toxicity mechanisms that can be translated into biomarkers relevant to human exposure studies. In this review, we discuss how data from toxicogenomic studies of exposed human populations can inform risk assessment, by generating biomarkers of exposure, early effect, and/or susceptibility, elucidating mechanisms of action underlying exposure-related disease, and detecting response at low doses. Good experimental design incorporating precise, individual exposure measurements, phenotypic anchors (pre-disease or traditional toxicological markers), and a range of relevant exposure levels, is necessary. Further, toxicogenomic studies need to be designed with sufficient power to detect true effects of the exposure. As more studies are performed and incorporated into databases such as the Comparative Toxicogenomics Database (CTD) and Chemical Effects in Biological Systems (CEBS), data can be mined for classification of newly tested chemicals (hazard identification), and, for investigating the dose-response, inter-relationship among, genes, environment and disease in a systems biology approach (risk characterization).
High hyperdiploidy is the single largest subtype of childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and is defined by the presence of 51-68 chromosomes in a karyotype. The 5 or more extra chromosomes characterizing this subtype are known to occur in a single mitotic event, prenatally. We screened for RAS mutations among 517 acute childhood leukemias (including 437 lymphocytic, of which 393 were B-cell subtypes) and found mutations in 30% of high hyperdiploids compared to only 10% of leukemias of other subtypes (P < 0.0001). We assessed whether KRAS mutations occurred before birth using a PCR-restriction enzyme-mediated Taqman quantitative PCR reaction, and found no evidence for prenatal KRAS mutations in 14 patients tested. While RAS mutations were previously associated with prior chemical exposures in childhood and adult leukemias, in this study RAS-mutated cases were not significantly associated with parental smoking when compared to study controls. IGH rearrangements were backtracked in three RAS-positive patients (which were negative for KRAS mutation at birth) and found to be evident before birth, confirming a prenatal origin for the leukemia clone. We posit a natural history for hyperdiploid leukemia in which prenatal mitotic catastrophe is followed by a postnatal RAS mutation to produce the leukemic cell phenotype.
childhood leukemia; high hyperdiploidy; NRAS KRAS; epidemiology
Occupational cohort and case–control studies suggest that trichloroethylene (TCE) exposure may be associated with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) but findings are not consistent. There is a need for mechanistic studies to evaluate the biologic plausibility of this association. We carried out a cross-sectional molecular epidemiology study of 80 healthy workers that used TCE and 96 comparable unexposed controls in Guangdong, China. Personal exposure measurements were taken over a three-week period before blood collection. Ninety-six percent of workers were exposed to TCE below the current US Occupational Safety and Health Administration Permissible Exposure Limit (100 p.p.m. 8 h time-weighted average), with a mean (SD) of 22.2 (36.0) p.p.m. The total lymphocyte count and each of the major lymphocyte subsets including CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, natural killer (NK) cells and B cells were significantly decreased among the TCE-exposed workers compared with controls (P < 0.05), with evidence of a dose-dependent decline. Further, there was a striking 61% decline in sCD27 plasma level and a 34% decline in sCD30 plasma level among TCE-exposed workers compared with controls. This is the first report that TCE exposure under the current Occupational Safety and Health Administration workplace standard is associated with a decline in all major lymphocyte subsets and sCD27 and sCD30, which play an important role in regulating cellular activity in subsets of T, B and NK cells and are associated with lymphocyte activation. Given that altered immunity is an established risk factor for NHL, these results add to the biologic plausibility that TCE is a possible lymphomagen.
Benzene is a ubiquitous environmental contaminant and is widely used in industry. Exposure to benzene causes a number of serious health problems, including blood disorders and leukemia. Benzene undergoes complex metabolism in humans, making mechanistic determination of benzene toxicity difficult. We used a functional genomics approach to identify the genes that modulate the cellular toxicity of three of the phenolic metabolites of benzene, hydroquinone (HQ), catechol (CAT) and 1,2,4-benzenetriol (BT), in the model eukaryote Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Benzene metabolites generate oxidative and cytoskeletal stress, and tolerance requires correct regulation of iron homeostasis and the vacuolar ATPase. We have identified a conserved bZIP transcription factor, Yap3p, as important for a HQ-specific response pathway, as well as two genes that encode putative NAD(P)H:quinone oxidoreductases, PST2 and YCP4. Many of the yeast genes identified have human orthologs that may modulate human benzene toxicity in a similar manner and could play a role in benzene exposure-related disease.
Variation in individual susceptibility to arsenic-induced disease may be partially explained by genetic differences in arsenic metabolism. Mounting epidemiological evidence and in vitro studies suggest that methylated arsenic metabolites, particularly monomethylarsonic (MMA3), are more acutely toxic than inorganic arsenic; thus, MMA3 may be the primary toxic arsenic species. To test the role of genetic variation in arsenic metabolism, polymorphisms in genes involved in one-carbon metabolism [methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR), methionine synthase (MTR), cystathionine-β-synthase (CBS), thymidylate synthase (TYMS), dihydrofolate reductase (DHFR), serine hydroxymethyltransferase 1 (SHMT1] and glutathione biosynthesis [glutathione S-transferase omega 1 (GSTO1)] were examined in an arsenic exposed population to determine their influence in urinary arsenic metabolite patterns. In 142 subjects in Cordoba Province, Argentina, variant genotypes for CBS rs234709 and rs4920037 SNPs compared with wild-type homozygotes were associated with 24% and 26% increases, respectively, in the mean proportion of arsenic excreted as monomethylarsonic acid (%MMA). This difference is within the range of differences in %MMA seen between people with arsenic-related disease and those without such disease in other studies. Small inverse associations with CBS rs234709 and rs4920037 variants were also found for the mean levels of the proportion of arsenic excreted as dimethylarsinous acid (%DMA). No other genetic associations were found. These findings are the first to suggest that CBS polymorphisms may influence arsenic metabolism in humans and susceptibility to arsenic-related disease.
arsenic; polymorphism; cystathionine-β-synthase; CBS; SNP