A prospective study was performed in the Dutch flower bulb culture to investigate the possible effects of subchronic exposure to the soil fumigant 1,3-dichloropropene (DCP) on liver and kidney function and on glutathione conjugation capacity in blood. Urine spot samples and venous blood samples from 14 workers applying DCP (applicators) were taken at the start of the season in July, and after the season in October. The parameters of liver function measured were: alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, alkaline phosphatase, lactate dehydrogenase, gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase, and total bilirubin (conjugated and unconjugated). Total bilirubin was significantly decreased from 9.5 before to 7.0 mumol/l after the season. In combination with an increase in serum gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase activity from 12.5 to 19.5 U/l this indicates moderate hepatic enzyme induction. To study renal function, creatinine and beta 2-microglobulin in serum, and beta 2-microglobulin, albumin, alanine aminopeptidase, beta-galactosidase, and retinol binding protein in urine were measured. The glomerular function parameters albumin in urine and creatinine in serum changed significantly during the season: albumin concentration increased from 5.2 to 7.6 mg/l, whereas creatinine concentration [corrected] decreased from 93.0 to 87.5 mumol/l. The tubular function parameter retinol binding protein also increased in concentration from 20.0 to 26.9 micrograms/l. Therefore, a subclinical nephrotoxic effect of subchronic exposure to DCP cannot be excluded. Effects on glutathione conjugation capacity were studied by measuring erythrocyte glutathione S-transferase activity and blood glutathione concentrations. The activity of glutathione S-transferase in erythrocytes was significantly decreased from 4.7 before to 3.3 U/g haemoglobin after the season. The same was true for the blood glutathione concentrations, which decreased from 0.93 to 0.82 mM.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)
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