The association between exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) and immunological measurements using blood samples from coke oven workers exposed to high and low PAH concentrations was assessed. A population-based, cross-sectional study was conducted from 2008-2009 with coke oven and steel-rolling workers as exposed and control groups, respectively. Questionnaires for basic demographical information were administered. Personal breathing zone and urine samples were collected to quantify personal PAH intake and biological response doses. Blood serum immunological and cytokine parameters were analysed. Urinary malondialdehyde (MDA) and 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8- OHdG) were analysed to detect PAH-induced oxidative stress in relation to altered humoral immunological status. Mean serum IgA (IgA) and TNF-R concentrations were significantly increased in coke oven versus steelrolling workers who had no or minimal PAH exposure (p ) 0.0033 and p <0.0001, respectively). There were no significant differences in mean IL-4 and IL-10 concentrations between coke oven and steel-rolling workers. Moderate activation of lipid peroxidation and oxidative damage detected by plasma MDA and 8-OHdG concentrations were simultaneously detected with significant alterations in IgA and IgE concentrations. Multiple regression analyses demonstrated high molecular weight PAH (>252; dibenzo(a,h) anthracene, benzo(a)pyrene, benzo(a)anthracene, and/or indeno(1,2,3- cd)pyrene) correlated with IgA and IgE concentrations. Results showed coke oven workers with chronic PAH exposure may develop immunological alteration. PAH-induced oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation partially explain the alteration in immunological parameters.

Authors: Jeng, Hueiwang Anna; Pan, Chih-Hong; Diawara, Norou; Chang-Chien, Guo-Ping; Lin, Wen-Yi; Huang, Chia- Tsuan; Ho, Chi-Kung; Wu, Ming-Tsang ;Full Source: Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2011, 68(9), 653-658 (Eng) ;