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    Harsh work environments can include very cold, hot, dusty, and noisy workplaces, as well as exposure in the workplace with chemicals and other fumes, cigarette smoke, and diesel exhaust. Although working in these harsh environments can have a negative effect on health, there are no effective biomarkers for monitoring health conditions until workers develop disease symptoms. Plasma protein concentrations, which reflect metabolism and immune status, have great potential as biomarkers for various health conditions. Using a Mendelian-randomization (MR) design, this study analyzed the effects of these harsh environments on plasma proteins to identify proteins that can be used as biomarkers of health status. Preliminary analysis using inverse variance weighted (IVW) method with a p-value cutoff of 0.05 showed that workplace environments could affect the concentrations of hundreds of plasma proteins. After filtering for sensitivity via MR-Egger, and Weighted Median MR approaches, 28 plasma proteins altered by workplace environments were identified. Further MR analysis showed that 20 of these plasma proteins, including UNC5D, IGFBP1, SCG3, ST3GAL6, and ST3GAL2 are affected by noisy workplace environments; TFF1, RBM39, ACYP2, STAT3, GRB2, CXCL1, EIF1AD, CSNK1G2, and CRKL that are affected by chemical fumes; ADCYAP1, NRSN1, TMEM132A, and CA10 that are affected by passive smoking; LILRB2, and TENM4 that are affected by diesel exhaust, are associated with the risk of at least one disease. These proteins have the potential to serve as biomarkers to monitor the occupational hazards risk of workers working in corresponding environments. These findings also provide clues to study the biological mechanisms of occupational hazards. Copyright © 2022 Li, Liao, Xie, Song and Zhang.


    Ang Li, Wenjing Liao, Junyang Xie, Lijuan Song, Xiaowen Zhang. Plasma Proteins as Occupational Hazard Risk Monitors for Populations Working in Harsh Environments: A Mendelian Randomization Study. Frontiers in public health. 2022;10:852572

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    PMID: 35602164

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