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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 42  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 161-168

Phenotype analysis of lymphocytes in workers with chronic benzene exposure

1 Department of Clinical and Chemical Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, South Valley University, Qena University Hospital, Qena, Egypt
2 Department of Toxicology and Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, South Valley University, Qena University Hospital, Qena, Egypt
3 Department of Biochemistry, Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology Research Institute, University of Sadat City, Menoufia, Egypt

Correspondence Address:
Hanan M Fayed
Department of Clinical and Chemical Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, South Valley University, Qena University Hospital, Mabber El-Shbab Street, Qena, 83523
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1110-1067.225090

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Background Automobile service station workers are at high risk of benzene toxicity because they neither take protective measures to prevent inhalation of petroleum products nor undergo regular medical checkup. Objective The aim of this paper was to study the effects of long-term benzene exposure on blood cells and liver function. Patients and methods The study was a controlled trial, which included 30 automobile service station workers investigated for alterations in blood cells, hepatic functions, and lymphocyte phenotype. Results When compared with controls, benzene-exposed workers had significant increase in alanine aminotransferase (47.80±3.19 vs. 28.50±4.35), aspartate aminotransferase (41.20±2.62 vs. 23.60±4.58), and alkaline phosphatase (305.13± 16.39 vs. 174.40±26.69) levels and significant decrease in total proteins (6.39±0.11 vs. 6.79±0.12), albumin (3.57±0.14 vs. 4.5±0.48), hemoglobin (10.77±0.49 vs. 13.97±0.69), platelets count (146.8±4.9 vs. 217.8±37.4), mean platelet volume (7.68±0.4; 8.83±0.8), white blood cells (3459±444 vs. 6171±1482), monocytes (188±64 vs. 338±190), neutrophils (2095±267 vs. 3487±998), lymphocytes (1177±265 vs. 2138±439) and its subsets [CD3 cells (948±217 vs. 1686±337), CD4 cells (321±81 vs. 1101±222), B cells (228±70 vs. 45.1±13.22), and CD4 : CD8 ratio (0.51±0.04 vs. 1.88±0.08)], with significant increase in CD8 cells (627±138 vs. 585±117) and platelet-lymphocyte ratio (PLR) (130.7±26.66 vs. 104.96±22.49). The duration of exposure positively correlated with PLR and negatively correlated with hemoglobin, platelets, mean platelet volume, white blood cells, neutrophil, lymphocyte (B cells, helper cells, and suppressor cells), and serum albumin. PLR had a negative correlation with CD4, CD8, and CD19 absolute counts. Conclusion Benzene exposure is detrimental to the liver and bone marrow and results in the reduction of all blood and lymphocyte series, intiating immune suppression which may predispose to carcinogenesis. PLR is a valuable, inexpensive, and reproducible index that is closely associated with impaired immune system in benzene-exposed workers.

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