We investigated the impact of air pollution on individuals living in the heavily polluted industrial Ostrava region and compared it with individuals from the relatively clean capital city of Prague, Czech Republic. The study was conducted in three sampling stages, differing in the concentrations of air pollutants (winter 2009, summer 2009 and winter 2010). In all stages the study subjects from the Ostrava region were exposed to significantly higher concentrations of benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P) and benzene than the subjects in Prague. To evaluate DNA damage in subjects from both locations we detected levels of bulky DNA adducts, chromosomal aberrations and micronuclei in peripheral blood lymphocytes, and oxidative stress markers in blood plasma and urine. Despite significantly higher concentrations of pollutants in the Ostrava region in all sampling periods, the levels of biomarkers were mostly comparable in both locations suggesting a possible role of adaptive response to environmental pollution in the Ostrava subjects. Whole genome expression analysis revealed significant differences between locations in expression profiles of genes participating in apoptosis, cell cycle regulation, DNA repair, inflammation and in metabolism of xenobiotics. Our results indicate that long-term exposure to high levels of environmental pollutants may lead to adaption of the organism to the effect of xenobiotics. However, the adaption leads to a shorter life-span of the affected population.

Supported by the Czech Ministry of the Environment (SP/1b3/8/08) and the Czech Ministry of Education (2B08005).

Pavel Rossner, Jr., Olena Beskid, Alena Milcova, Anna Pastorkova, Andrea Rossnerova, Jana Schmuczerova, Vlasta Svecova, Nana Tabashidze, Elena Tulupova, Jan Topinka, Radim J. Sram Laboratory of Genetic Ecotoxicology, Institute of Experimental Medicine AS CR, Videnska 1083, 142 20 Prague, Czech Republic .


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  • Received: 16 May 2012
  • Accepted: 16 May 2012
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