Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 26, Issue 2, pp 1394–1405 | Cite as

Inflammatory and oxidative stress biomarkers at protein and molecular levels in workers occupationally exposed to crystalline silica

  • Caroline Peruzzi
  • Sabrina Nascimento
  • Bruna Gauer
  • Jessica Nardi
  • Elisa Sauer
  • Gabriela Göethel
  • Larissa Cestonaro
  • Nuryan Fão
  • Shanda Cattani
  • Cristiane Paim
  • Jorge Souza
  • Daniela Gnoatto
  • Solange Cristina GarciaEmail author
Research Article


Workers chronically exposed to respirable crystalline silica (CS) are susceptible to adverse health effects like silicosis and lung cancer. This study aimed to investigate potential early peripheral biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress in miners. The subjects enrolled in this study were occupationally unexposed workers (OUW, n = 29) and workers exposed to crystalline silica (WECS), composed by miners, which were divided into two subgroups: workers without silicosis (WECS I, n = 39) and workers diagnosed with silicosis, retired from work (WECS II, n = 42). The following biomarkers were evaluated: gene expression of L-selectin, CXCL2, CXCL8 (IL-8), HO-1, and p53; malondialdehyde (MDA) plasma levels and non-protein thiol levels in erythrocytes. Additionally, protein expression of L-selectin was evaluated to confirm our previous findings. The results demonstrated that gene expression of L-selectin was decreased in the WECS I group when compared to the OUW group (p < 0.05). Regarding gene expression of CXCL2, CXCL8 (IL-8), HO-1, and p53, significant fold change decreases were observed in workers exposed to CS in relation to unexposed workers (p < 0.05). The results of L-selectin protein expression in lymphocyte surface corroborated with our previous findings; thus, significant downregulation in the WECS groups was observed compared to OUW group (p < 0.05). The MDA was negatively associated with the gene expression of CXCL-2, CXCL8 (IL-8), and p53 (p < 0.05). The participants with silicosis (WECS II) presented significant increased non-protein thiol levels in relation to other groups (p < 0.05). Taken together, our findings may contribute to help the knowledge about the complex mechanisms involved in the silicosis pathogenesis and in the risk of lung cancer development in workers chronically exposed to respirable CS.


Miners Silicosis Lung cancer Gene expression L-selectin Early blood biomarkers 



The authors would like to thank the volunteers who participated in this study, the healthcare professionals from Ametista do Sul, RS, Brazil, and the volunteers from Porto Alegre, RS, Brazil, Banrisul, especially Mr. Sérgio Arantes, who were essential for the development of this study, and Fernando Freitas and Otávio Lovison for their substantial help during sample collection. We also thank the Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre (research project number 170222) for providing the facilities for flow cytometry and RT-PCR analyses. C. Peruzzi had a CNPq MSc. research fellowship and S.C. Garcia is a recipient of CNPq research fellowship.

Funding information

This work was supported by the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio Grande do Sul (FAPERGS, protocol number 27671.414.17115.26062017, PqG 2017).

Compliance with ethical standards

This study was approved by the Research Ethics Committee of the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (Registry CAAE no. 175 60976516.7.0000.5347). All volunteers provided their written informed consent.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Caroline Peruzzi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Sabrina Nascimento
    • 1
    • 2
  • Bruna Gauer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jessica Nardi
    • 1
    • 2
  • Elisa Sauer
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gabriela Göethel
    • 1
    • 2
  • Larissa Cestonaro
    • 1
    • 2
  • Nuryan Fão
    • 1
    • 2
  • Shanda Cattani
    • 1
  • Cristiane Paim
    • 3
  • Jorge Souza
    • 4
  • Daniela Gnoatto
    • 4
  • Solange Cristina Garcia
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratório de Toxicologia (LATOX), Departamento de Análises, Faculdade de FarmáciaUniversidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)Porto AlegreBrazil
  2. 2.Programa de Pós-Graduação em Ciências Farmacêuticas (PPGCF)Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)Porto AlegreBrazil
  3. 3.FUNDACENTRO, Fundação Jorge Duprat e FigueiredoPorto AlegreBrazil
  4. 4.Unidade Regional de Saúde do Trabalhador (UREST)Ametista do SulBrazil

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