Biomonitoring of workers exposed to lead. Genotoxic effects, its modulation by polyvitamin treatment and evaluation of the induced radioresistance

A. Vaglenov, E. Carbonell, R. Marcos

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A population monitoring study was performed, by using the micronucleus (MN) assay in human peripheral lymphocytes, to investigate whether occupational exposure to lead is genotoxic to workers. In addition to the exposed workers group, two more groups were studied, an external group from a factory without exposure to lead and an internal control group, from the same factory as the exposed workers, but that were not directly exposed to lead. Measures of lead levels at working place and in blood were calculated, and blood samples were collected to carry out a MN study. The results from these studies indicate that the blood from workers directly exposed contained high levels of lead, compared with the other groups, and a significant increase in the frequency of both the total number of MN and the number of binucleated cells carrying MN appeared. In addition, a study on the antimutagenic effects of a polyvitamin rich diet was conducted by measuring the frequency of MN after the workers had a four month daily intake of a polyvitamin-polymineral complex. These results clearly show a significant reduction of the MN frequency evaluated after this treatment, obtaining values that were even lower than those obtained in the internal control group. Finally, a challenge assay was carried out to determine response to γ-radiation as indication of any kind of radiosensitivity or radioresistance. The results of this experiment did not show any significant variation in the increase of the frequency of MN after challenge irradiation in the lead exposed workers; nevertheless this increase was significantly reduced in the sample obtained after the polyvitamin treatment indicating a radioresistance response. Copyright (C) 1998 Elsevier Science B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)79-92
JournalMutation Research - Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 1998


  • Lead
  • Polymineral
  • Polyvitamin


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