Cross-Linkage Hypothesis of Aging: DNA Adducts in Chromatin as a Primary Aging Process

  • Richard G. Cutler


There is now substantial evidence which points to the occurrence and biological importance of the formation of protein and other adducts to DNA after ultraviolet or ionizing radiation of cells (Smith, 1975a). Many of the reactive cross-linking agents formed on the irradiation of cells (e.g., free radicals and their derivatives) are thought to exist naturally within a cell but at a much lower concentration. In addition, there exist naturally within the cell many non-radical chemical agents such as the aldehydes which could also cross-link macromolecules (Harman, 1962; Bjorksten, 1962, 1974; Sinex, 1964). The possible parallel between radiation and naturally induced DNA adducts appears sufficiently great to warrant serious consideration of the natural occurrence of DNA adducts as an important primary aging process. The objective of this paper is to review the concept of primary aging processes and the cross-linkage hypothesis of aging and to present the major evidence indicating the natural accumulation of DNA adducts in the chromatin of mammalian species with increasing age.


Aging Process Free Radical Reaction Maximum Lifespan Chromatin Protein Template Activity 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1976

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard G. Cutler
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute for Molecular BiologyThe University of Texas at DallasRichardsonUSA

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