Evaluation of DNA damage by the Comet assay in shoe workers exposed to toluene and other organic solvents

M. Pitarque, A. Vaglenov, M. Nosko, A. Hirvonen, H. Norppa, A. Creus, R. Marcos

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The alkaline single-cell gel electrophoresis (or Comet) assay was applied to evaluate DNA damage in cryopreserved peripheral blood mononuclear leukocytes from 34 female shoe workers exposed to organic solvents and a group of 19 non-exposed women. We also investigated whether the polymorphisms of glutathione S-transferase M1 (GSTM1) and T1 (GSTT1) genes affect individual level of DNA damage possibly induced by the solvent exposure. Chemical measurements of workplace air in the two factories studied showed that the workers were exposed to acetone, gasoline, and toluene in both factories and to ethylacetate and diisocyanate in one factory. In the exposed workers, the average level of blood hemoglobin was lower and that of urinary hippuric acid higher than in the non-exposed individuals. However, the occupational exposure to organic solvents did not affect the Comet values. Neither did age, smoking, or the GSTM1 genotype have any effect on the outcome of this assay. The low prevalence of the GSTT1-null genotype precluded conclusions on the influence of GSTT1 polymorphism. Copyright (C) 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-127
JournalMutation Research - Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 1999


  • Biomonitoring
  • Comet assay
  • GSTM1
  • GSTT1
  • Organic solvent
  • Shoe worker


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