Common chemical highly toxic to blood cell precursors

Common chemical highly toxic to blood cell precursors
Benzene is one of the most widely used chemicals in the world. Credit: Yang MingQi

Malaysian scientists have provided evidence that a widely used chemical is more toxic to certain blood cell precursors in the bone marrow than to others.

Benzene is among the most widely used chemicals in the world. It is mainly used to make materials such as plastics, rubbers, dyes, detergents and pesticides. It can also be found in automobile and industrial fumes. Its toxic effects on are well documented and it's known to cause different kinds of leukaemia, multiple myeloma and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. However, the exact mechanisms involved in its toxicity are not yet understood.

Researchers from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia built on previous research that shows that is metabolized in the liver, then its metabolites are further metabolized in the to produce 1,4-benzoquinone (1,4-BQ), which is known for its toxic effects on blood cells. The team studied the effects of 1,4-BQ on "haematopoietic stem cells" (HSCs are stem cells found in the bone marrow that can give rise to any kind of blood cell) and "haematopoietic progenitor cells" (each HPC in the bone marrow can differentiate into only one specific type of blood cell) in mice.

The researchers exposed mouse bone marrow cells to different concentrations of 1,4-BQ and found it induced cytotoxicity that leads to suicidal cell death, or apoptosis. They also found that 1,4-BQ was more toxic to HSCs, myeloid progenitors (which give rise to red blood cells and platelets, among others) and B cell lymphoid progenitors than it was to T cell lymphoid progenitors. They also found that 1,4-BQ was more toxic to progenitors that give rise to a single group of blood cells than it was to progenitors that give rise to multiple groups.

No studies to-date have compared the toxic effects of 1,4-BQ exposure on different haematopoietic progenitors, the researchers say.

Although benzene itself is not likely to be toxic to blood cells, scientists believe its metabolites are. This study provides an experimental system to further understand how benzene metabolites impair the regulation of haematopoietic , the researchers say.


Explore further

Blood stem cells study could pave the way for new cancer therapy

Provided by ResearchSEA
Citation: Common chemical highly toxic to blood cell precursors (2016, June 24) retrieved 24 August 2019 from https://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-06-common-chemical-highly-toxic-blood.html
This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.
64 shares

Feedback to editors

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more