Genomic Instability in Exfoliated Buccal Cells among Cement Warehouse Workers

Lalu Krishna, Ursula Sampson, Panthapulaykal Theru Annamala, Kumudam Malati Unni, Bhaskarapillai Binukumar, Alex George, Ranjith Sreedharan


Background: Workers in cement warehouses of Kerala are enduring long-standing exposure to cement dust, which is considered genotoxic.

Objective: To evaluate the extent of genotoxicity and cytotoxicity caused due to exposure of cement dust among those working in cement warehouses.

Methods: The study included 82 cement warehouse workers and 82 age-matched individuals with no exposure to cement dust. Exfoliated buccal micronucleus cytome assay (BMCyt) was performed to analyze the genotoxic and cytotoxic effects caused by inhalation of cement dust.

Results: The frequency of various genotoxic and cytotoxic end markers (micronucleated cells [2-fold increase, p<0.001], nuclear buds [4-fold increase, p<0.001], binucleated cells [4-fold increase, p<0.001], karyorrhectic cells [2-fold increase, p<0.001], pyknotic cells [3-fold increase, p<0.001], and karyolytic cells [2-fold increase, p<0.001]) were higher in the exposed workers compared with unexposed group. Increase of these parameters represented an increased level of chromosomal damage, nuclear disintegration and increased cell death among exposed group compared with unexposed group.

Conclusion: Continuous exposure to cement dust results in increased frequency of nuclear aberrations and cellular apoptosis. This may lead to defects in genome maintenance, accelerated ageing, increased chance of oral cancer and neurodegenerative disorders in those occupationally exposed to cement dust.


Occupational exposure; Mutagenicity tests; Chromosome aberrations; Apoptosis; Oral mucosal absorption; Micronuclei, chromosome-defective; Micronucleus tests; Biomarkers; DNA damage

doi: 10.15171/ijoem.2020.1744

 pISSN: 2008-6520
 eISSN: 2008-6814

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