Environmental Science and Pollution Research

, Volume 25, Issue 31, pp 31558–31568 | Cite as

Micronucleus frequency is correlated with antioxidant enzyme levels in workers occupationally exposed to pesticides

  • Maria del Carmen Xotlanihua-Gervacio
  • Mirna Citlali Guerrero-Flores
  • José Francisco Herrera-Moreno
  • Irma Martha Medina-Díaz
  • Yael Yvette Bernal-Hernández
  • Briscia Socorro Barrón-Vivanco
  • Monserrat Sordo
  • Aurora Elizabeth Rojas-GarcíaEmail author
Research Article


Oxidative stress can cause DNA damage leading to nuclear anomalies such as micronuclei (MN). Antioxidant enzymes involved in protection against intracellular oxidative stress include glutathione peroxidase (GPx), glutathione reductase (GR), superoxide dismutase (SOD), and catalase (CAT). Pesticide exposure induces oxidative stress and alters antioxidant defense mechanisms, including detoxification and scavenger enzymes. The aim of this study was to evaluate MN frequency in workers occupationally exposed to pesticides and their relationship with antioxidant enzyme activities. A cross-sectional study was conducted in 201 individuals, some of whom were dedicated to the spraying of pesticides. The cytokinesis-block micronucleus (CBMN) assay was conducted, and the activities of GPx, GR, SOD, and CAT were determined. The geometric mean (GM) of MN was 5.4 (1–26 MN). The GM for the antioxidant enzymes was 198.68 U/mL for GPx, 38.96 U/g Hb for GR, 94.78 U/mL for SOD, and 69.77 U/g Hb for CAT. There was a lower MN frequency in males than that in females, and a higher nuclear index. In addition, age affected MN frequency. There was a negative correlation between MN frequency and GPx activity, but a positive one between MN frequency and GR activity. These findings suggest the involvement of GPx in MN frequency.


Micronuclei Antioxidant enzymes Pesticides exposure 



The authors would like to thank Rigoberto Zepeda Arce for his technical assistance; Cyndia Azucena González Arias and Norma Elena Pérez Herrera for their critical review of the manuscript; to Leticia Yañez Estrada and the team of the Gender, Health and Environmental Laboratory of the Medicine Faculty, San Luis Potosi Autonomous University, for their help in DAP determination. The authors also would like to thank all study participants.

Funding information

This study was supported by CONACyT-SALUD-Mexico-233803.

Compliance with ethical standards

All participants signed an informed consent at the beginning of the study. This study was approved by the Bioethics Commission of Nayarit State, Mexico (CEBN/0112017).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that there are no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria del Carmen Xotlanihua-Gervacio
    • 1
    • 2
  • Mirna Citlali Guerrero-Flores
    • 1
  • José Francisco Herrera-Moreno
    • 1
    • 2
  • Irma Martha Medina-Díaz
    • 1
  • Yael Yvette Bernal-Hernández
    • 1
  • Briscia Socorro Barrón-Vivanco
    • 1
  • Monserrat Sordo
    • 3
  • Aurora Elizabeth Rojas-García
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Laboratorio de Contaminación y Toxicología Ambiental. Secretaría de Investigación y PosgradoUniversidad Autónoma de NayaritTepicMexico
  2. 2.Posgrado en Ciencias Biológico Agropecuarias|Unidad Académica de AgriculturaXaliscoMexico
  3. 3.Instituto de Investigaciones BiomédicasUNAMMéxico DFMexico

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