Carbon load in airway macrophages, DNA damage and lung function in taxi drivers exposed to traffic-related air pollution.


Department of Occupational Health, School of Public Health, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran. [Email]


To evaluate the potential applicability of carbon load in airway macrophages as a marker of exposure to traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) and its association with parameters of comet assay as a marker of DNA damage, and pulmonary function tests (PFTs) in the group of taxi drivers in Iran. One hundred four male taxi drivers with at least 1-year job history were randomly selected from registered drivers in the taxi union. Airway macrophages were obtained via sputum induction, and then the area of airway macrophages occupied by carbon was measured. DNA damage was determined by comet assay. PFTs were measured by the spirometer. Most of the participants (89.4%) were non-smoker. In this study, 52.7% of non-smoker participants were able to give a sample of sputum with macrophage. Carbon content of airway macrophages was 0.2 μm2. There was no significant difference in pulmonary function and comet assay parameters in terms of smoking status. There was an inverse correlation between carbon load with each of comet assay and PFTs parameters, although not statistically significant. This study identified that long-term exposure to TRAP can be a risk factor for pulmonary disorders.


Air pollution,Airway macrophages,Carbon load,Comet assay,DNA damage,Lung function,