Project at a Glance

Title: Induction of aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase incultured peripheral lymphocytes in college students exposed to air pollutants

Principal Investigator / Author(s): Teel, Robert W.

Contractor: Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Loma Linda University

Contract Number: A6-104-30

Research Program Area: Health & Exposure

Topic Areas: Health Effects of Air Pollution


Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are known, environmental contaminants and are metabolized to active carcinogenic forms by aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase. In this study it was hypothesized that exposure to heavy air pollutants would result in higher levels of aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase activity. To test this hypothesis, buff coat cells were isolated from peripheral blood obtained from students residing at two Seventh-Day Adventist colleges. One college, Riverside Campus of Loma Linda University, represents a high air pollution exposure site and the other, Pacific Union College, Angwin, California, represents a low air pollution exposure site. Blood samples were obtained from the same individuals on three different occasions. At each drawing white blood cells were cultured in the presence of mitogens for 48 hours. Cells were then harvested and frozen at -80°C until the enzyme assays were performed. The enzyme assay involved the spectro photofluorometric detection of phenolic products when samples of cultured cells were incubated in the presence of benzo (a) pyrene. Data are expressed as units per mg cell protein. Results obtained indicate wide inter individual variation irrespective of residence. Seasonal variations are also indicated. Significantly higher mean units of aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase activity are associated with those students residing at the Riverside Campus of Loma Linda University. Differences are significant at a p value less than 0.0001, These results suggest that under the conditions employed in this study higher levels of aryl hydrocarbon hydroxylase activity are found in individuals living in geographical regions with high levels of air pollution. This report was submitted in fulfillment of A6-104-30 by Robert W. Teel, Principal Investigator, Department Physiology and Pharmacology, School of Medicine, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, California, under the sponsorship of the California Air Resources Board. Work was completed as of January 1, 1978.

For questions regarding this research project, including available data and progress status, contact: Research Division staff at (916) 445-0753

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