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Increased DNA Damage among Cement Industry Workers: Single Cell Gel Electrophoresis Assay

Author(s): Sudha Sellappa, Mythili Balakrishnan and Sabari Guru Vasudevan

Cement is a known carcinogen. Large numbers of workers are occupationally exposed to one or more forms of cement. Therefore, the potential carcinogenic hazard to the exposed workers is of great concern. This study examines the genotoxic effect of cement by using Comet assay. The Comet  Assay or single cell gel electrophoresis assay is one of the very widely used assays to microscopically detect DNA damage at the level of a single cell. The determination of damage is carried out either through visual scoring of cells (after classification into different categories on the basis of tail length and shape). In this study white blood cells are taken in order to evaluate the genotoxic risk associated with occupational exposure of 15 cement industry workers and 15 agematched controls, in Coimbatore, South India. In the comet assay 100 cells were examined for each individual, both comet tail length and a damage index were calculated. In this present study we found a significantly longer comet tail in a group ofworkers exposed to cement (35.02 ± 0.186) compared to the control group (30.82 ± 0.154). The comet assay is considered a suitable and fast test for DNA-damaging potential in biomonitoring.

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