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Evaluation of genetic damage in tobacco and arsenic exposed population of Southern Assam, India using buccal cytome assay and comet assay

Roy, Prasenjit, Mukherjee, Anita, Giri, Sarbani
Ecotoxicology and environmental safety 2016 v.124 pp. 169-176
acetylcholinesterase, arsenic, biomarkers, blood, body mass index, carcinogens, cell death, cell proliferation, comet assay, cytogenetics, drinking water, environmental monitoring, glucose, groundwater, hemoglobin, human health, humans, mastication, mutagens, smokeless tobacco, India
Ground water is the principal source of drinking water in Assam. Ground water contamination of arsenic in drinking water is a great concern for human health and considered as a human carcinogen. The present cytogenetic biomonitoring study was undertaken to investigate the genotoxic effects associated with people of southern Assam consuming arsenic contaminated water and chewing tobacco. Employing the buccal cytome assay, exfoliated cells were analyzed in 138 individuals of age range 22–42 years and divided into four groups. Group I (n=54) are participants residing in localities where ground water contains arsenic concentration below the permissible limit (<10μg/l) and without any tobacco chewing history. Group II (n=32) participants from the same area but they are tobacco chewers. Group III (n=24) participants from localities where significantly high arsenic contamination in ground water were observed. Whereas the Group IV (n=28) consists of participants from the arsenic contaminated area and also tobacco chewers. Body mass index (BMI) in all the groups are found to be nearly same and in normal range. Statistically significant (P<0.001) increase in genotoxic, cell death parameters and cell proliferation biomarkers were observed in the Group IV compared to other groups. In the comet assay, percent of tail DNA gradually increases among the groups and has statistical significance. Spearman correlation revealed strong positive correlation between the arsenic exposed peoples and the binucleated cells (r=0.4763; P<0.001). Amount of chewing tobacco had significant positive correlation with micronucleus frequency (r=0.268; P<0.05) and karyolitic cells (r=0.217; P<0.05) and also in the percentage of tail DNA (r=0.5532, P<0.001). A statistically significant increase in glucose content and decrease in hemoglobin content as well as acetylcholine esterase in the blood of exposed individuals was observed. Our preliminary study indicate that population exposed to arsenic through drinking water may become more susceptible towards chewing tobacco induced nuclear damage as evaluated by buccal cytome assay and comet assay.