1,3-Butadiene (BD) is a common chemical in the human environment. Diepoxybutane (DEB) is the most reactive epoxide metabolite of BD. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the influence of polymorphisms in enzymes operating in DEB-metabolism (epoxide hydrolase mEH, CYP2E1 and GSTT1), as well as in the DNA-repair enzyme RAD51, on the frequency of sister chromatid exchange (SCE) induced by DEB in lymphocyte cultures from 63 healthy donors. Their genotypes were determined using PCR and restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP)-PCR techniques. The analysis of xenobiotic-metabolizing genes revealed that GSTT1 and CYP2E1 polymorphisms have an influence on DEB-induced SCE frequency. Individuals with the GSTT1 null genotype and CYP2E1 c2 variant allele heterozygotes were observed to have significantly higher SCE frequency than individuals with more common genotypes. A correlation between sensitivity to DEB and GSTT1 null genotype indicates that this pathway is a major detoxification step in DEB metabolism in whole-blood lymphocyte cultures, which has been shown in many studies. The analysis of combined polymorphisms indicated that, in the presence of GSTT1, a significantly higher DEB-induced SCE frequency is observed in the CYP2E1 c2 variant allele heterozygotes than in individuals with the most common CYP2E1 genotype. In the absence of GSTT1, however, the CYP2E1 polymorphism has no influence on DEB-induced SCEs. A significant difference was also observed between individuals characterized by low and high mEH activity, but only in subjects with the GSTT1 null genotype. Lack of GSTT1 resulted in higher SCE frequency in individuals with mEH high-activity genotypes than in individuals with mEH low-activity genotype. In the present study no statistically significant difference in DEB-induced SCEs was observed for the RAD51 polymorphism. The influence of GSTT1 genotype on SCE-frequency in RAD51 variant allele carriers was not analysed as all individuals in this group (except one person) had the GSTT1 gene present. Our study shows that the combined analysis of polymorphisms in metabolizing enzymes may lead to a better understanding of their contribution to an individual's susceptibility to DEB. © 2003 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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