Toxicology Letters 2017 February 7 [Epub ahead of print] [Link]
Bonassi S, Cellai F, Munnia A, Ugolini D, Cristaudo A, Neri M, Milić M, Bonotti A, Giese RW, Peluso ME
Asbestos is the commercial name for a group of silicate minerals naturally occurring in the environment and widely used in the industry. Asbestos exposure has been associated with pulmonary fibrosis, mesothelioma, and malignancies, which may appear after a period of latency of 20-40 years. Mechanisms involved in the carcinogenic effects of asbestos are still not fully elucidated, although the oxidative stress theory suggests that phagocytic cells produce large amounts of reactive oxygen species, due to their inability to digest asbestos fiber. We have conducted a mechanistic study to evaluate the association between 3-(2-deoxy-β-D-erythro-pentafuranosyl)pyrimido[1,2-α]purin-10(3H)-one deoxyguanosine (M1dG) adducts, a biomarker of oxidative stress and lipid peroxidation, and asbestos exposure in the peripheral blood of 327 subjects living in Tuscany and Liguria, Italy, stratified by occupational exposure to asbestos. Adduct frequency was significantly greater into exposed subjects with respect to the controls. M1dG per 108 normal nucleotides were 4.0±0.5 (SE) in 156 asbestos workers, employed in mechanic, naval, petrochemical, building industries, and in pottery and ceramic plants, versus a value of 2.3±0.1 (SE) in 171 controls (p<0.001). After stratification for occupational history, the effects persisted in 54 current asbestos workers, mainly employed in building renovation industry (2.9±0.3 (SE)), and in 102 former asbestos workers (4.5±0.7), with p-values of 0.033, and <0.001, respectively. A significant effect of smoking on heavy smokers was found (p=0.005). Our study gives additional support to the oxidative stress theory, where M1dG may reflect an additional potential mechanism of asbestos-induced toxicity.