Assessing biomarkers and neuropsychological outcomes in rural populations exposed to organophosphate pesticides in Chile - study design and protocol
SourceBMC Public Health, 15, (2015), pp. 1463
Article / Letter to editor
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Primary and Community Care
BMC Public Health
SubjectRadboudumc 0: Other Research RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences; Radboudumc 18: Healthcare improvement science RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences; Radboudumc 6: Metabolic Disorders RIHS: Radboud Institute for Health Sciences
BACKGROUND: Health effects of pesticides are easily diagnosed when acute poisonings occurs, nevertheless, consequences from chronic exposure can only be observed when neuropsychiatric, neurodegenerative or oncologic pathologies appear. Therefore, early monitoring of this type of exposure is especially relevant to avoid the consequences of pathologies previously described; especially concerning workers exposed to pesticides on the job. For acute organophosphate pesticides (OPP) exposure, two biomarkers have been validated: plasma cholinesterase (ChE) and acetylcholinesterase (AChE) from erythrocytes. These enzymes become inhibited when people are exposed to high doses of organophosphate pesticides, along with clear signs and symptoms of acute poisoning; therefore, they do not serve to identify risk from chronic exposure. This study aims to assess a novel biomarker that could reflect neuropsychological deterioration associated with long-term exposure to organophosphate pesticides via the enzyme acylpeptide-hydrolase (ACPH), which has been recently identified as a direct target of action for some organophosphate compounds. METHODS/DESIGN: Three population groups were recruited during three years (2011-2013): Group I having no exposure to pesticides, which included people living in Chilean coastal areas far from farms (external control); Group II included those individuals living within the rural and farming area (internal control) but not occupationally exposed to pesticides; and Group III living in rural areas, employed in agricultural labour and having had direct contact with pesticides for more than five years. Blood samples to assess biomarkers were taken and neuropsychological evaluations carried out seasonally; in three time frames for the occupationally exposed group (before, during and after fumigation period); in two time frames for internal control group (before and during fumigation), and only once for the external controls. Neuropsychological evaluations considered cognitive functions, affectivity and psychomotor activity. The biomarkers measured included ChE, AChE and ACPH. Statistical analysis and mathematical modelling used both laboratory results and neuropsychological testing outcomes in order to assess whether ACPH would be acceptable as biomarker for chronic exposure to OPP. DISCUSSION: This study protocol has been implemented successfully during the time frames mentioned above for seasons 2011, 2012 and 2013-2014.
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