Occupational exposure to formaldehyde and alterations in lymphocyte subsets

Howard D. Hosgood, Luoping Zhang, Xiaojiang Tang, Roel Vermeulen, Zhenyue Hao, Min Shen, Chuangyi Qiu, Yichen Ge, Ming Hua, Zhiying Ji, Senhua Li, Jun Xiong, Boris Reiss, Songwang Liu, Kerry X. Xin, Mariko Azuma, Yuxuan Xie, Laura Beane Freeman, Xiaolin Ruan, Weihong GuoNoe Galvan, Aaron Blair, Laiyu Li, Hanlin Huang, Martyn T. Smith, Nathaniel Rothman, Qing Lan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Formaldehyde is used in many occupational settings, most notably in manufacturing, health care, and embalming. Formaldehyde has been classified as a human carcinogen, but its mechanism of action remains uncertain. Methods: We carried out a cross-sectional study of 43 formaldehyde-exposed workers and 51 unexposed age and sex-matched controls in Guangdong, China to study formaldehyde's early biologic effects. To follow up our previous report that the total lymphocyte count was decreased in formaldehyde-exposed workers compared with controls, we evaluated each major lymphocyte subset (i.e., CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, natural killer [NK] cells, and B cells) and T cell lymphocyte subset (CD4+ naïve and memory T cells, CD8+ naïve and memory T cells, and regulatory T cells). Linear regression of each subset was used to test for differences between exposed workers and controls, adjusting for potential confounders. Results: Total NK cell and T cell counts were about 24% (P=0.037) and 16% (P=0.0042) lower, respectively, among exposed workers. Among certain T cell subsets, decreased counts among exposed workers were observed for CD8+ T cells (P=0.026), CD8+ effector memory T cells (P=0.018), and regulatory T cells (CD4+FoxP3+: P=0.04; CD25+FoxP3+: P=0.008). Conclusions: Formaldehyde-exposed workers experienced decreased counts of NK cells, regulatory T cells, and CD8+ effector memory T cells; however, due to the small sample size; these findings need to be confirmed in larger studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)252-257
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicine
Volume56
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes

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Lymphocyte Subsets
Occupational Exposure
Formaldehyde
T-Lymphocytes
T-Lymphocyte Subsets
Regulatory T-Lymphocytes
Natural Killer Cells
Embalming
Lymphocyte Count
Carcinogens
Sample Size
Linear Models
China
B-Lymphocytes
Cell Count
Cross-Sectional Studies
Delivery of Health Care

Keywords

  • B cell
  • Formaldehyde
  • NK cell
  • T cell
  • T cell subset

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Occupational exposure to formaldehyde and alterations in lymphocyte subsets. / Hosgood, Howard D.; Zhang, Luoping; Tang, Xiaojiang; Vermeulen, Roel; Hao, Zhenyue; Shen, Min; Qiu, Chuangyi; Ge, Yichen; Hua, Ming; Ji, Zhiying; Li, Senhua; Xiong, Jun; Reiss, Boris; Liu, Songwang; Xin, Kerry X.; Azuma, Mariko; Xie, Yuxuan; Freeman, Laura Beane; Ruan, Xiaolin; Guo, Weihong; Galvan, Noe; Blair, Aaron; Li, Laiyu; Huang, Hanlin; Smith, Martyn T.; Rothman, Nathaniel; Lan, Qing.

In: American Journal of Industrial Medicine, Vol. 56, No. 2, 02.2013, p. 252-257.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Hosgood, HD, Zhang, L, Tang, X, Vermeulen, R, Hao, Z, Shen, M, Qiu, C, Ge, Y, Hua, M, Ji, Z, Li, S, Xiong, J, Reiss, B, Liu, S, Xin, KX, Azuma, M, Xie, Y, Freeman, LB, Ruan, X, Guo, W, Galvan, N, Blair, A, Li, L, Huang, H, Smith, MT, Rothman, N & Lan, Q 2013, 'Occupational exposure to formaldehyde and alterations in lymphocyte subsets', American Journal of Industrial Medicine, vol. 56, no. 2, pp. 252-257. https://doi.org/10.1002/ajim.22088
Hosgood, Howard D. ; Zhang, Luoping ; Tang, Xiaojiang ; Vermeulen, Roel ; Hao, Zhenyue ; Shen, Min ; Qiu, Chuangyi ; Ge, Yichen ; Hua, Ming ; Ji, Zhiying ; Li, Senhua ; Xiong, Jun ; Reiss, Boris ; Liu, Songwang ; Xin, Kerry X. ; Azuma, Mariko ; Xie, Yuxuan ; Freeman, Laura Beane ; Ruan, Xiaolin ; Guo, Weihong ; Galvan, Noe ; Blair, Aaron ; Li, Laiyu ; Huang, Hanlin ; Smith, Martyn T. ; Rothman, Nathaniel ; Lan, Qing. / Occupational exposure to formaldehyde and alterations in lymphocyte subsets. In: American Journal of Industrial Medicine. 2013 ; Vol. 56, No. 2. pp. 252-257.
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AU - Hosgood, Howard D.

AU - Zhang, Luoping

AU - Tang, Xiaojiang

AU - Vermeulen, Roel

AU - Hao, Zhenyue

AU - Shen, Min

AU - Qiu, Chuangyi

AU - Ge, Yichen

AU - Hua, Ming

AU - Ji, Zhiying

AU - Li, Senhua

AU - Xiong, Jun

AU - Reiss, Boris

AU - Liu, Songwang

AU - Xin, Kerry X.

AU - Azuma, Mariko

AU - Xie, Yuxuan

AU - Freeman, Laura Beane

AU - Ruan, Xiaolin

AU - Guo, Weihong

AU - Galvan, Noe

AU - Blair, Aaron

AU - Li, Laiyu

AU - Huang, Hanlin

AU - Smith, Martyn T.

AU - Rothman, Nathaniel

AU - Lan, Qing

PY - 2013/2

Y1 - 2013/2

N2 - Background: Formaldehyde is used in many occupational settings, most notably in manufacturing, health care, and embalming. Formaldehyde has been classified as a human carcinogen, but its mechanism of action remains uncertain. Methods: We carried out a cross-sectional study of 43 formaldehyde-exposed workers and 51 unexposed age and sex-matched controls in Guangdong, China to study formaldehyde's early biologic effects. To follow up our previous report that the total lymphocyte count was decreased in formaldehyde-exposed workers compared with controls, we evaluated each major lymphocyte subset (i.e., CD4+ T cells, CD8+ T cells, natural killer [NK] cells, and B cells) and T cell lymphocyte subset (CD4+ naïve and memory T cells, CD8+ naïve and memory T cells, and regulatory T cells). Linear regression of each subset was used to test for differences between exposed workers and controls, adjusting for potential confounders. Results: Total NK cell and T cell counts were about 24% (P=0.037) and 16% (P=0.0042) lower, respectively, among exposed workers. Among certain T cell subsets, decreased counts among exposed workers were observed for CD8+ T cells (P=0.026), CD8+ effector memory T cells (P=0.018), and regulatory T cells (CD4+FoxP3+: P=0.04; CD25+FoxP3+: P=0.008). Conclusions: Formaldehyde-exposed workers experienced decreased counts of NK cells, regulatory T cells, and CD8+ effector memory T cells; however, due to the small sample size; these findings need to be confirmed in larger studies.

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