Immunohistochemical study of skin alteration induced by bitumen exposure in road pavers’ skin chronically exposed to bitumen products
Keywords:occupational exposure; bitumen fumes; skin cancer, MMPs; bax; bcl-2.
The first interaction of the human body with the environment is represented by the skin. It represents the first defense barrier of the human body, interacting with numerous agents in the environment. The skin of road pavers is chronically exposed to bitumen fumes, a mixture of volatile compounds. In order to identify early skin alteration, the immunoexpression of: MMP-9, MMP-13, E-Caderina, Ki-67, Bax and bcl-2 was studied. Skin punch biopsies of the forearm were carried out on a sample of 16 workers professionally exposed to bitumen fumes and on an unexposed control group. Morphometric and densitometric analyzes were also conducted. Urinary 1-hydroxypyrene (1-OHP) was also determined. The morphological evaluation of the sample of subjects involved in road pavement showed epidermal thinning, flattening and loss of the intercellular junction with a reduced expression of E-cadherin confined to the basal skin layer, together with overexpressions MMP-9, MMP-13 and bax and a under-expression of bcl-2. No immunohistochemical alteration was observed for Ki-67.
The role of MMPs is essential for the epidermal integrity; therefore, their overexpression can be responsible for histological changes observed in the subjects examined. Furthermore, the skin chronically exposed to bitumen fumes overexpresses bax and underexpresses bcl-2, suggesting that bitumen fumes induce apoptotic activation as a defense mechanism.
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