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The effect of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons on changes in the brain structure of firefighters: An analysis using data from the Firefighters Research on Enhancement of Safety & Health study

 Yun Tae Kim  ;  Woojin Kim  ;  Mun-Joo Bae  ;  Jee Eun Choi  ;  Mi-Ji Kim  ;  Sung Soo Oh  ;  Ki Soo Park  ;  Sungha Park  ;  Seung-Koo Lee  ;  Sang-Baek Koh  ;  Changsoo Kim 
 SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT, Vol.816 : 151655, 2022-04 
Journal Title
Issue Date
Aged ; Brain / diagnostic imaging ; Firefighters* ; Fires* ; Humans ; Male ; Occupational Exposure* / analysis ; Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons* / analysis
Brain cortical thickness ; Hypertension ; Neuroimaging ; Smoking ; Urinary metabolites
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are formed during incomplete combustion of organic matter, and firefighters are highly exposed to these toxic compounds at fire sites. Exposure to PAHs can cause cognitive decline and neurodegeneration; however, to date, few studies have examined the potential effects of PAH exposure on structural changes in the brain. We aimed to investigate the association between the four types of PAH metabolites and the corresponding changes in neuroimaging markers based on smoking status and hypertension in male firefighters. For this, we utilized the 2-year follow-up data of 301 Korean male firefighters aged over 40 years. The concentrations of four PAH metabolites in urine were measured. Subcortical volume and cortical thickness were estimated using 3 T magnetic resonance imaging of the brain. A generalized linear model was used to investigate the effects of PAHs on changes in the subcortical volume and cortical thickness. We found an association between 1-hydroxyphenathrene (1-OHPHE) and 2-hydroxyfluorene (2-OHF) and changes in several brain regions in all the study participants. Individuals who had never smoked showed significantly thinner frontal (p < 0.001), parietal (p < 0.001), temporal (p < 0.001), and cingulate lobes (p < 0.001) with 1% increase each in the urinary concentration of 1-OHPHE. Hypertension interacted with the concentration of 1-OHPHE to reduce the volume of gray matter and cause cortical thinning in the frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes. Exposure to PAHs may reduce cortical thickness and subcortical volume, which are definitive markers of neurodegeneration. Notably, hypertension can accelerate the degenerative effects of PAHs.
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1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Internal Medicine (내과학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Preventive Medicine (예방의학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
1. College of Medicine (의과대학) > Dept. of Radiology (영상의학교실) > 1. Journal Papers
Yonsei Authors
Kim, Woojin(김우진) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5520-4228
Kim, Chang Soo(김창수) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5940-5649
Park, Sung Ha(박성하) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5362-478X
Bae, Mun-joo(배문주)
Lee, Seung Koo(이승구) ORCID logo https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5646-4072
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