• Genetic susceptibility of newborn daughters to oxidative stress.

      Decordier, Ilse; De Bont, Kelly; De Bock, Kirsten; Mateuca, Raluca; Roelants, Mathieu; Ciardelli, Roberta; Haumont, Dominique; Knudsen, Lisbeth E; Kirsch-Volders, Micheline (Elsevier, 2007-07-30)
      A central question in risk assessment is whether newborns' susceptibility to mutagens is different from that of adults. Therefore we investigated whether genotype and/or the DNA strand break repair phenotype in combination with the MN assay would allow estimation of the relative sensitivity of a newborn as compared to his mother for oxidative DNA damage. We compared the in vitro genetic susceptibility for H2O2 in PBMC of 17 mother-newborn daughter pairs taking into account genotypes for relevant DNA repair (hOGG1, XRCC1, XRCC3, XPD) and folate metabolism (MTHFR) polymorphisms. After in vitro challenge with H2O2 the repair capacity was assessed by the Comet assay and chromosome/genome mutations by the cytokinesis-block MN assay. No statistically significant differences were found between mothers and their newborn daughters either for initial DNA damage or for residual DNA damage. Mothers showed higher background frequencies of MN as compared to their newborn daughters, due to the age factor. This was confirmed by significantly higher frequencies of MN observed in mothers versus newborn daughters for several genotypes. No genotype with a significant effect on DNA repair capacity in newborns was identified. Concerning MN frequencies, however, newborns carrying the variant XRCC3(241) genotype might be at higher risk for the induction of MN by oxidative stress. Multivariate analysis revealed a significant protective effect of maternal antioxidant supplementation during pregnancy against oxidative DNA damage in newborns in terms of MN frequencies. However, these conclusions might not be extrapolable to other types of DNA damage and need confirmation in a study on a larger population.
    • Research on the socio-ethical impact of biomarker use and the communication processes in ECNIS NoE and NewGeneris IP.

      Dumez, Birgit; Van Damme, Karel; Casteleyn, Ludwine (Elsevier, 2007-05)
      Current research projects using human biomarkers in their search for better knowledge on the interaction between environment and human health are facing sensitive ethical issues. Researchers may be put in situations in which it is unclear how to act in accordance with all necessary legal requirements on ethical aspects of research. As a consequence, scientific opportunities and important developments of which many individuals will benefit, may be missed. Sound scientific research in the field of environment and health may benefit from a "rethinking" of current theoretical frameworks and procedures issuing from clinical medicine, putting emphasis on decisional autonomy and the protection of the individual and to a much lesser degree taking into account the concept of "public interest". The protection of individuals participating in studies in the field of environmental health calls, e.g., new communication strategies from recruitment to debriefing, at individual as well as at societal levels. Research on the socio ethical aspects on HBM within ECNIS and Newgeneris is situated at the interface of science, ethics and law and should be considered in the context of one final goal: contributing to guidelines for a harmonized socio-ethical and legal approach of human biomonitoring activities in the EU, including procedures for effective and appropriate communication both a the individual and at the collective level, resulting in a European research atmosphere in which scientific research related to development and use of human biomarkers is promoted, and in which a simultaneous protection of the rights and dignity of the study subjects is guaranteed. A harmonized socio-ethical and legal approach not only increases the possibilities for comparison between data generated but may also allow for more equality in the protection of the rights of each citizen of the European Union.