Assessment of Changes in Expression of the 5-HT2A and GABAA Receptor Genes in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells of Gas Station Workers, Tehran, Iran

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Molecular Biology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

2 Department of Medical Genetics, National Institute of Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Immunology, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran


Gasoline containing different chemical compounds especially aromatic compounds such as benzene, xylene, toluene and ethylbenzene which are the most dangerous compounds. Gas station workers have the highest potential for exposure to gasoline evaporation. Many studies have investigated the effect of gasoline vapors and cause of death in people working in gas stations. According to reports, the cause of death of these people is mainly due to cardiovascular disease, lung cancer, leukemia and other cancers in the world. With regard to the harmful effects of gasoline vapors on health  and  the  importance  of  the  relationship  between  the  immune  system  and nervous, in this study we investigated alternations in gene expression pattern of the serotonin  5-Hydroxytryptamine  2A  (5-HT2A)  receptor  and  type  A  gammaaminobutyric  acid  (GABAA)  receptor  in  peripheral  blood  mononuclear  cells (PBMCs) of people working in gas stations, Tehran. For this purpose, The PBMCs were separated from whole blood of 30 gas station workers and 30 normal by Ficoll-hypaque. The total RNA was extracted and the cDNA was synthesized. This process was followed by Real-time  PCR using specific primers for 5-HT2A and GABAA receptor mRNAs. Results have shown a significant increase (P = 0.001) in relative gene expression of 5-HT2A receptor whereas relative expression of GABAA receptor was significantly decreased (P = 0.004) in PBMC compared with normal control peoples.  According to the role of the serotonin in asthma and due to the importance of the activity of this neurotransmitter through 5HT2A receptor which has a significant increase in patients with allergic asthma it can be concluded that workers in the gas station may be more susceptible to developing allergic asthma. On the other hand, low expression of  GABAA receptor is associated with mental health problems such as depression, so it can also be concluded that people working at the gas station are more exposed to these health problems in comparison to normal people.