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Content available remote Differences in basal DNA damage in blood cells from men and women
We have recently shown that inhabitants of two polluted areas in Kosovo display more DNA damage (strand breaks in blood cell DNA) than do residents of a cleaner area. Here, we present additional analyses of these data and discuss additional data sets from Kosovo. Based on our data as well as the available data from other authors, age and sex-related differences in DNA damage or in susceptibility to DNA-damaging agents in the environment should be carefully considered when designing biomonitoring studies and when carrying out statistical analysis of the data.
In order to assess DNA damage associated with exposure to environmental pollution in two polluted sites and one control site in Kosovo, whole blood samples were collected from volunteers in two polluted areas (Kastriot/ Obiliq - lignite-based power plants and lignite mines - and Drenas/Gllogovc - Ferronikeli smelting plant) as well as from Peja, representing an unpolluted area. White blood cells were isolated, and DNA damage was analyzed by the alkaline comet assay. Significantly higher levels of DNA damage (strand breaks) were found in white blood cells from subjects living in the polluted areas compared with residents of the unpolluted city, indicating a potential threat to human health.
The single cell gel electrophoresis, called Comet Assay is a microelectrophoretic technique of direct visualization of DNA damage at the cell level. In the comet assay, the cells suspended in an agarose gel on a microscope slide are subjected to lysis, unwinding of DNA and electrophoresis. After staining with fluorescent DNA binding dye, cells with DNA damage display increased migration of genetic material from the cell nucleus. Under the influence of weak, statics electric field, charged DNA migrates away from the nucleus forming a so called comet. The damage is quantified by measuring the amound of the genetic material, which migrates from the nucleus to form the comet tail. The foremost advantage of the comet assay is that it analyses individual cells, thus allowing the measurement of the heterogeneity of response within a cell population. In this paper we present three novel method of the comet tail and head extraction.
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