Essential Metals Zinc, Selenium, and Strontium Protect against Chromosome Damage Caused by Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons Exposure

Essential metals play important roles in maintaining cellular homeostasis, but the effects of their interaction with the environmental pollutants are still not very well-known in human subjects. The aim of this study was to evaluate the roles of essential metals and their interactions with polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) on chromosome damage, an early carcinogenic event. A total of 1245 male workers were included in this study and the levels of 11 urinary essential metals, 12 urinary PAH metabolites, plasma concentrations of benzo­[a]­pyrene-r-7,t-8,t-9,c-10-tetrahydotetrol-albumin (BPDE-Alb) adducts, and lymphocyte micronucleus (MN) frequencies were monitored. We found that zinc (Zn), selenium (Se), and strontium (Sr) have significant inverse dose–response relationships with MN frequencies (all <i>P</i> < 0.05). Furthermore, the protective roles of Zn, Se, and Sr were mainly shown among subjects with high levels of BPDE-Alb adducts. Significant effect modification of BPDE-Alb adducts on the associations of Zn, Se, and Sr with MN frequencies was observed (all <i>P</i><sub>interaction</sub> < 0.05). Our study showed evidence that Zn, Se, and Sr play protective roles in reducing chromosome damage, and these effects can be modified by PAH exposure levels. These findings add potential evidence for the preventive effects of Zn, Se, and Sr against carcinogenesis in human subjects.