The urinary benzene metabolites, trans, trans-muconic acid (ttMA) and S-phenylmercapturic acid (SPMA), are widely used as benzene exposure biomarkers. The influence of the glutathione S-transferase (GST) genetic polymorphism on the excretion levels of urinary ttMA and/or SPMA hasbeen investigated. The association between dose-related production of urinary benzene metabolitesand benzene exposure level was also reported. However, the association between the dose-related productions of urinary benzene metabolitesand GST genetic polymorphism was not described in the literature. The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between the GST genetic polymorphism and dose-related production of the two widely used biomarkers, urinary ttMA and SPMA. Seventy male workersin a chemical factory were measured for their benzene exposure levelsand provided blood and urine specimens at the end of work-shift. The atmospheric benzene exposure levels of these workers were determined by passive samplers with gas chromatograph mass spectrometer. The urinary ttMA and SPMA levels were quantitated by an online dual-loop cleanup device with an electrospray ionization tandem mass spectrometer. The analyses of GST genotypes, including M1, T1, and P1, were done using PCR. Mean (± SD) of benzene exposure levels in participants was 7.2 ± 15 ppm. The ttMA and SPMA levels in the high benzene exposure group (≧1 ppm) were higher than those in the low benzene exposure group (<1 ppm; P < 0.001). Among the GST genotypes investigated in this study, the results showed that only the GSTT1 genotype was related to the level and dose-related production of SPMA. Using SPMA for evaluating benzene exposure, the results suggest that the GSTT1 genetic polymorphism, especially in a comparison study between two populations with different GSTT1 genotype frequencies, should be considered. Additionally, the biological exposure index value of SPMA should be set based on the levelsof subjects with GSTT1-deficient genotypes for protection of all subjects.
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