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Chromosomal Instability in Farmers Exposed to Pesticides: High Prevalence of Clonal and Non-Clonal Chromosomal Alterations

Authors Cepeda S, Forero-Castro M, Cárdenas-Nieto D, Martínez-Agüero M, Rondón-Lagos M

Received 27 September 2019

Accepted for publication 18 December 2019

Published 11 February 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 97—110

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/RMHP.S230953

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Marco Carotenuto


Sebastian Cepeda,1 Maribel Forero-Castro,1 Diana Cárdenas-Nieto,1 María Martínez-Agüero,2 Milena Rondón-Lagos1

1School of Biological Sciences, Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Colombia, Tunja 150003, Colombia; 2Biology Program, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Universidad del Rosario, Bogotá 111221, Colombia

Correspondence: Milena Rondón-Lagos
School of Biological Sciences, Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Colombia, Tunja 150003, Colombia
Tel/Fax +57-8-7405626
Email sandra.rondon01@uptc.edu.co
María Martínez-Agüero
Biology Program, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Universidad del Rosario, Bogotá 111221, Colombia
Tel/Fax +57-1-297-0200 ext. 4029
Email maria.martinez@urosario.edu.co

Introduction: An important economic activity in Colombia is agricultural production and farmers are frequently exposed to pesticides. Occupational exposure to pesticides is associated with an increased incidence of various diseases, including cancer, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, reproductive disorders, and birth defects. However, although high genotoxicity is associated with these chemicals, information about the type and frequency of specific chromosomal alterations (CAs) and the level of chromosomal instability (CIN) induced by exposure to pesticides is scarce or absent.
Methods: In this study, CAs and CIN were assessed in peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) from five farmers occupationally exposed to pesticides and from five unexposed individuals using GTG-banding and molecular cytogenetic analysis.
Results: A significant increase in clonal and non-clonal chromosomal alterations was observed in pesticide-exposed individuals compared with unexposed individuals (510± 12,2 vs 73± 5,7, respectively; p< 0.008). Among all CAs, monosomies and deletions were more frequently observed in the exposed group. Also, a high frequency of fragilities was observed in the exposed group.
Conclusion: Together, these findings suggest that exposure to pesticides could be associated with CIN in PBLs and indicate the need for the establishment of educational programs on safety precautions when handling pesticides, such as wearing gloves, masks and boots, changing clothes and maintaining proper hygiene, among others. Further evaluation in other similar studies that include a greater number of individuals exposed to pesticides is necessary.

Keywords: pesticides, occupational exposure, chromosomal instability, clonal chromosomal alteration, non-clonal chromosomal alteration

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