Molecular Epidemiology Focused on Airborne Carcinogens

  • Pavel RossnerJr.
  • Blanka Binkova
  • Andrea Rossnerova
  • Radim J. Sram
Part of the Molecular and Integrative Toxicology book series (MOLECUL)


Health risk associated with genotoxic and carcinogenic effects of air pollution is evaluated by biomarkers of exposure, effect and susceptibility. The use of these molecular methods combined with epidemiological studies became new research area termed molecular epidemiology. These biomarkers begin with exposure and include absorption, metabolism, distribution, critical target interaction (i.e. DNA damage and repair), genetic changes and finally disease. The development of biomarkers has given rise to the field of molecular epidemiology, which uses these biomarkers rather than disease to assess the risk of environmental exposure. This chapter is an overview of a contemporary knowledge how biomarkers may be used to evaluate the health risk of air pollution. As biomarkers of exposure were reviewed bulky DNA adducts, oxidative damage markers (8-oxodG, 15-F2t-IsoP), double strand DNA breaks (Comet assay), as biomarkers of effect chromosomal aberrations (conventional cytogenetic analysis, FISH technique, the analysis of micronuclei), sperm DNA fragmentation, as biomarkers of susceptibility genetic polymorphisms, as omics biomarkers mRNA expression, DNA methylation, microRNA expression. All presented studies indicate, that DNA adducts, Comet assay and DNA fragmentation in the sperm are sensitive biomarkers of exposure to airborne carcinogens, chromosomal aberrations assessed by FISH and micronuclei are suitable biomarkers of effect, and 8-oxo-7,8-dihydro-2′-deoxyguanosine (8-oxodG) and 15-F2t-isoprostane (15-F2t-IsoP) biomarkers of oxidative damage.


Carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (c-PAHs) DNA adducts DNA oxidative damage Lipid peroxidation Chromosomal aberrations Sperm DNA fragmentation Genetic polymorphisms 



We would like to acknowledge the great help and support of our friends from National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, US Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, NC 27711, USA, especially Drs. Joellen Lewtas, Lawrence W. Reiter, and Sally Perault Darney. Thanks to their support we were able to establish molecular epidemiology methods in the Czech Republic.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pavel RossnerJr.
    • 1
  • Blanka Binkova
    • 1
  • Andrea Rossnerova
    • 1
  • Radim J. Sram
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Genetic EcotoxicologyInstitute of Experimental Medicine, AS CRPrague 4Czech Republic

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