Cell Biology and Toxicology

, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 401–411 | Cite as

Interindividual differences in initial DNA repair capacity when evaluating H2O2-induced DNA damage in extended-term cultures of human lymphocytes using the comet assay

  • M. Andersson
  • P. Stenqvist
  • B. Hellman
Original Article


It has been suggested that extended-term cultures of human lymphocytes could be used as a complement to cell lines based on transformed cells when testing the genotoxicity of chemicals. To investigate whether the pattern of induced DNA damage and its subsequent repair differs significantly between cultures based on different blood donors, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced DNA damage was measured in cultures from four different subjects using the comet assay. The DNA damage was significantly increased in all cultures after 10 min exposure to 0.25 mmol/L H2O2, and there was a significant decrease in the H2O2-induced DNA damage in all cultures after 30 min of DNA repair. The level of damage varied between the different donors, especially after the repair. Using PCR and DNA sequencing, exon 5 of the p53 gene was sequenced in the lymphocytes from the donors with the lowest and highest residual damage. No such mutation was found. Mouse lymphoma L5178Y cells carrying the p53 mutation in exon 5 were included as a reference. These cells were found to be less sensitive toward the H2O2-induced DNA damage, and they were also found to have a rather low DNA repair capacity. The demonstrated variation in H2O2-induced DNA damage and DNA repair capacity between the cultures from the different subjects may be important from a risk assessment perspective, but is obviously not of decisive importance when it comes to the development of a routine assay for genotoxicity.


Extended-term cultures of human lymphocytes DNA damage DNA repair Comet assay Hydrogen peroxide Mouse lymphoma cells 



heat-inactivated fetal calf serum


polymerase chain reaction




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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Pharmaceutical Biosciences, Division of ToxicologyUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden

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