DNA damage and antioxidant status in medical residents occupationally exposed to waste anesthetic gases
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PURPOSE:To investigate the effects of occupational exposure to waste anesthetic gases on genetic material and antioxidant status in professionals during their medical residency. METHODS:The study group consisted of 15 medical residents from Anesthesiology and Surgery areas, of both genders, mainly exposed to isoflurane and to a lesser degree to sevoflurane and nitrous oxide; the control group consisted of 15 young adults not exposed to anesthetics. Blood samples were drawn from professionals during medical residency (eight, 16 and 22 months of exposure to waste anesthetic gases). DNA damage was evaluated by comet assay, and antioxidant defense was assessed by total thiols and the enzymes glutathione peroxidase (GPX), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and catalase (CAT). RESULTS:When comparing the two groups, DNA damage was significantly increased at all time points evaluated in the exposed group; plasma thiols increased at 22 months of exposure and GPX was higher at 16 and 22 months of exposure. CONCLUSION:Young professionals exposed to waste anesthetic gases in operating rooms without adequate scavenging system have increased DNA damage and changes in redox status during medical residency. There is a need to minimize exposure to inhalation anesthetics and to provide better work conditions.