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2006 | 53 | 2 | 321-336
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Evaluation of DNA damage in white blood cells of healthy human volunteers using the alkaline comet assay and the chromosome aberration test

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The present study was undertaken to contribute to the characterization of the degree of variability in baseline damage in white blood cells from control population, and to investigate how this variability is associated with external and internal factors. Altogether 170 healthy volunteers, randomly selected from the general population of the Republic of Croatia, participated in the study. Two sensitive tests: the alkaline comet assay and the chromosome aberration test were applied to study the background levels of DNA damage in their white blood cells. The results point to inter-individual differences, indicating different genome sensitivity. As revealed by both assays, the background levels of DNA damage were mostly influenced by smoking habit as well as medical exposure (especially to diagnostic X-rays). Sex and age of subjects did not significantly influence the values of DNA damage recorded in the white blood cells. Although higher levels of DNA damage were recorded in blood samples collected during winter and autumn, they were mostly influenced by medicinal exposure and smoking habit. Statistical evaluation of the data confirmed that a positive correlation exists between DNA migration and the number of long-tailed nuclei found with the comet assay and the total number of chromosome aberrations. The data obtained can serve as control values in forthcoming biomonitoring studies.

Physical description
  • Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health, Mutagenesis Unit Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
  • Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health, Mutagenesis Unit Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
  • Institute for Medical Research and Occupational Health, Mutagenesis Unit Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia
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