Multiple biomarkers study in painters in a shipyard in Korea

Kyoung Ho Lee, Masayoshi Ichiba, Jiusong Zhang, Katsumaro Tomokuni, Yun Chul Hong, Mina Ha, Ho Jang Kwon, Sang Back Koh, Hong Ryul Choi, Kwan Hee Lee, Chung Gyu Park, Soo Hun Cho, Ari Hirvonen, Paul T. Strickland, Roel Vermeulen, Richard B. Hayes, Daehee Kang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Shipbuilding workers are exposed to a variety of genotoxic compounds including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). A limited number of studies have been conducted to evaluate biomarkers related to PAH exposure in painters in the shipyard industry. We examined this in 208 workers recruited from a shipyard located in South Korea. Employees were grouped into three exposure groups: (1) 111 painters using coal tar paints, (2) 70 painters using general paints, and (3) 27 on-site controls using no paints. Levels of urinary 1-hydroxypyrene glucuronide (1-OHPG), as internal dose of PAH exposure, were measured by synchronous fluorescence spectroscopy. Glutathione S-transferase (GST) M1 and T1 genotypes were assessed by a multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based method, aromatic-DNA adducts in peripheral white blood cells were measured by 32P-postlabeling, and glycophorin A (GPA) variant frequencies in red blood cells were assessed by flow cytometry. Information on demographic characteristics, smoking habits, diet, job title and use of personal protective equipment (e.g. respiratory and dermal) were collected by self-administered questionnaire. Average urinary 1-OHPG levels in coal tar paint (2.24μmol/mol creatinine) and general paint (1.38μmol/mol creatinine) users were significantly higher than in on-site controls (0.62μmol/mol creatinine) (P<0.001). Paint use, irrespective of the type of paints, and smoking (yes/no) were positively associated with urinary 1-OHPG levels, whereas green tea consumption (yes/no) was negatively associated with the 1-OHPG levels. No significant effect in the 1-OHPG levels were observed for the GSTM1 and GSTT1 genotypes. Aromatic-DNA adduct levels tended to be higher in coal tar paint users (P=0.06) and painters (P=0.07) compared to on-site controls. No differences in adduct levels were observed, between the two groups of painters, and the combined group showed greater adduct levels than on-site controls (P=0.05). GPA mutation frequencies measured in 55 individuals with MN heterozygote genotypes were not significantly different among the three exposure groups, and no correlation was observed between urinary 1-OHPG levels and aromatic-DNA adducts or GPA mutation frequency. These results suggest that painters in the shipyard were exposed to significant amounts of PAHs and possibly to other genotoxic aromatic compounds, and that urinary 1-OHPG may be a potential biomarker of PAH exposure in this population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-98
Number of pages10
JournalMutation Research - Genetic Toxicology and Environmental Mutagenesis
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 9 2003


  • 1-Hydroxypyrene glucuronide
  • Genetic polymorphism
  • Glutathione S-transferases
  • Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon
  • Shipyard

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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