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Open AccessArticle

Gene Expression Response in Peripheral Blood Cells of Petroleum Workers Exposed to Sub-Ppm Benzene Levels

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Department of Clinical Science, University of Bergen, P.O. Box 7804, N-5020 Bergen, Norway
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Institute of Marine Research, P.O. Box 1870 Nordnes, N-5817 Bergen, Norway
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Nofima AS, Osloveien 1, N-1430 Ås, Norway
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Faculty of Science and Technology, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, NO-1430 Ås, Norway
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Institute for Work and Health (IST), Universities of Lausanne and Geneva, CH-1066 Lausanne-Epalinges, Switzerland
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Department of Medical Genetics, Haukeland University Hospital, P.O. Box 1400, N-5021 Bergen, Norway
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Center for Cancer Biomarkers (CCBIO), Department of Clinical Science, Precision Oncology Research Group, University of Bergen, P.O. Box 7804, N-5020 Bergen, Norway
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Department of Global Public Health and Primary Care, University of Bergen, P.O. Box 7804, N-5020 Bergen, Norway
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15(11), 2385; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph15112385
Received: 31 July 2018 / Revised: 21 October 2018 / Accepted: 24 October 2018 / Published: 27 October 2018
Altered gene expression in pathways relevant to leukaemogenesis, as well as reduced levels of circulating lymphocytes, have been reported in workers that were exposed to benzene concentrations below 1 ppm. In this study, we analysed whole blood global gene expression patterns in a worker cohort with altered levels of T cells and immunoglobulins IgM and IgA at three time points; pre-shift, post-shift (after three days), and post-recovery (12 hours later). Eight benzene exposed tank workers performing maintenance work in crude oil cargo tanks with a mean benzene exposure of 0.3 ppm (range 0.1–0.5 ppm) and five referents considered to be unexposed were examined by gene expression arrays. By using our data as independent validation, we reanalysed selected genes that were reported to be altered from previous studies of workers being exposed to sub-ppm benzene levels Four out of six genes previously proposed as marker genes in chronically exposed workers separated benzene exposed workers from unexposed referents (CLEC5, ACSL1, PRG2, IFNB1). Even better separation of benzene exposed workers and referents was observed for short-term exposure for genes in the Jak-STAT pathway, particularly elevated expression of IL6 and reduced expression of IL19. View Full-Text
Keywords: benzene; gene expression; inflammation; immune response; leukaemia risk; petroleum industry; offshore benzene; gene expression; inflammation; immune response; leukaemia risk; petroleum industry; offshore
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Jørgensen, K.M.; Færgestad Mosleth, E.; Hovde Liland, K.; Hopf, N.B.; Holdhus, R.; Stavrum, A.-K.; Gjertsen, B.T.; Kirkeleit, J. Gene Expression Response in Peripheral Blood Cells of Petroleum Workers Exposed to Sub-Ppm Benzene Levels. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2018, 15, 2385.

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