Introduction: Environmental exposure to harmful chemicals may produce severe consequences. Aim: The aim of the authors was to perform geno- and immune-toxicological monitoring in female employees occupationally exposed to cytostatic agents in hospitals and compare the findings to those obtained from controls. Method: Altogether 642 women working in hospital who were occupationally exposed to cytostatic drugs and 262 control women participated in the study. Frequency of chromosome aberrations, immune phenotype and activation of lymphocytes, and the production of reactive oxygen-species in neutrophil granulocytes were determined. Results: Markedly higher number (n=39) of thyroid alterations was observed among exposed subjects as compared to controls (n=3). In persons with abnormal thyroid functions, the frequency of chromosome aberrations (3.69%) was significantly higher (3.69%) than in exposed subjects without thyroid alterations (2.43%) and in controls (1.70% and 1.60% in control subjects with and without thyroid alterations, respectively). Significantly increased ratio of helper T lymphocytes and decreased ratio of cytotoxic T cells and transferrin-receptor (CD71) expressing B cells were observed in exposed subjects having abnormal thyroid functions as compared to controls. In addition, the ratio of B cells, CD71 expressing T cells and production of reactive oxygen-intermediates was significantly decreased in exposed subjects with thyroid alterations in comparison to exposed subjects without thyroid alterations. Conclusions: The results indicate increased geno- and immune-toxic effects among exposed subjects having thyroid alterations. Further data are needed to clearly establish the underlying pathophysiological mechanism of this finding.
ASJC Scopus subject areas