Polymorphisms in genes involved in innate immunity and susceptibility to benzene-induced hematotoxicity

Min Shen, Luoping Zhang, Kyoung Mu Lee, Roel Vermeulen, H. Dean Hosgood, Guilan Li, Songnian Yin, Nathaniel Rothman, Stephen Chanock, Martyn T. Smith, Qing Lan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Benzene, a recognized hematotoxicant and carcinogen, can damage the human immune system. We studied the association between single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in genes involved in innate immunity and benzene hematotoxicity in a cross-sectional study of workers exposed to benzene (250 workers and 140 controls). A total of 1,236 tag SNPs in 149 gene regions of six pathways were included in the analysis. Six gene regions were significant for their association with white blood cell (WBC) counts (MBP, VCAM1, ALOX5, MPO, RAC2, and CRP) based on gene-region (P < 0.05) and SNP analyses (FDR < 0.05). VCAM1 rs3176867, ALOX5 rs7099684, and MPO rs2071409 were the three most significant SNPs. They showed similar effects on WBC subtypes, especially granulocytes, lymphocytes, and monocytes. A 3-SNP block in ALOXE3 (rs7215658, rs9892383, and rs3027208) showed a global association (omnibus P = 0.0008) with WBCs even though the three SNPs were not significant individually. Our study suggests that polymorphisms in innate immunity genes may play a role in benzene-induced hematotoxicity; however, independent replication is necessary.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)374-378
Number of pages5
JournalExperimental and Molecular Medicine
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Benzene
  • Hematology
  • Immunity
  • Innate
  • Polymorphism
  • Single nucleotide
  • Toxicity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Biochemistry


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