Identification of gene markers for formaldehyde exposure in humans

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Abstract

BACKGROUND Formaldehyde (FA) is classified as a human carcinogen and has been linked to increased leukemia rates in some epidemiologic studies. Inhalation of FA induces sensory irritation at relatively low concentrations. However, little is known concerning the cellular alterations observed after FA exposure in humans. OBJECTIVES Our aim was to profile global gene expression in Hs 680.Tr human tracheal fibroblasts exposed to FA and to develop biomarkers for the evaluation of FA exposure in humans. METHODS AND RESULTS We used gene expression analysis, and identified 54 genes designated as FA responsive. On the basis of these data, we conducted an exploratory analysis of the expression of these genes in human subjects exposed to high or low levels of FA. We monitored FA exposure by measuring the urinary concentration of thiazolidine-4-carboxylate (TZCA), a stable and quantitative cysteinyl adduct of FA. Nine genes were selected for real-time PCR analysis; of these, BHLHB2, CCNL1, SE20-4, C8FW, PLK2, and SGK showed elevated expression in subjects with high concentrations of TZCA. CONCLUSION The identification of gene marker candidates in vitro using microarray analysis and their validation using human samples obtained from exposed subjects is a good tool for discovering genes of potential mechanistic interest and biomarkers of exposure. Thus, these genes are differentially expressed in response to FA and are potential effect biomarkers of FA exposure.

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Li, G. Y., Lee, H. Y., Shin, H. S., Kim, H. Y., Lim, C. H., & Lee, B. H. (2007). Identification of gene markers for formaldehyde exposure in humans. Environmental Health Perspectives, 115(10), 1460–1466. https://doi.org/10.1289/ehp.10180

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