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Influence of Gene-Environment Interaction on the Neurobehavioral Impairments from Chronic Solvent Exposure Among Construction Painters

Hua Qian
MS, 2004
Stony Brook University

Thesis Advisor: Clifford Weisel, PhD
Graduate Program: Exposure Science

Conference Room AB

Monday, May 10, 2010
9:00 am


The overall objectives of this dissertation are to characterize current organic solvent exposure during bridge painting and to evaluate potential genetic modification effects on the relationship between chronic solvent exposure and neurobehavioral impairments among construction painters.

The organic solvent exposure to bridge painters was assessed by measuring volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the breathing zone during specific painting activities and recording auxiliary information e.g. application methods, meteorological conditions etc. Mixed effect models were constructed for the air concentration during bridge painting and evaluated using separately collected work place samples. The model for brush/roller painting included only the application method and temperature as predictors for VOC concentrations in the low ppm range while none of the factors recorded predicted the air concentration during spray painting which had a mean VOC concentration of ~700ppm. These results can be used to predict workplace solvent air concentration during painting based on time spent in specific activities.

Potential genetic modification effects were evaluated as part of a large cross sectional study on neurobehavioral impairments from chronic solvent exposure among bridge painters. 26 functional SNPs from 11 metabolic genes mainly involved in the biotransformation of neurotoxins were genotyped. Type 1 and type 2 interaction models were used to evaluate the genetic modification effects from each SNP of the three neurobehavioral tests (Association Learning Delay-ALDELAY for verbal memory, Match to Sample Visual Search Total Correct-MTS_TC for attention, Finger Tapping Alternating-FTALT for motor speed) in which painters had significantly worse performance compared to controls. In the type 1 model, presence of GSTP1(C2293T) genotype and its interaction with the exposure were statistically significantly associated with neurobehavioral performance on ALDELAY. In the type 2 model, NAT2*5A, NAT2*6A were significantly associated with performances on MTS_TC and FTALT, respectively. The data suggest that the presence of GSTP1or the two NAT2 polymorphisms could increase the risk of developing neurobehavioral impairments.

Overall, organic solvent exposure during bridge painting was assessed directly for the first time and the evaluation of potential genetic modification effects on the exposure-response relationship can greatly improve our understanding on the inter-individual susceptibilities in disease risk.

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