Title

The effects of stress on DNA repair capacity

ISBN or ISSN

0887-0446

Publication Title

Psychology and Health

Volume

15

Issue

6

Publication Date / Copyright Date

12-1-2000

First Page

881

Last Page

891

DOI Number

10.1080/08870440008405589

Abstract

Research has shown that lymphocytes of high-distress patients have reduced DNA repair relative to that of low-distress patients and healthy controls. Furthermore, deficits in repair are associated with an increased risk of cancer. Using and academic stress model, we hypothesized that students would exhibit lower levels of Nucleotide Excision Repair (NER) during a stressful exam period when compared to a lower stress period. Participants were 19 healthy graduate level students. NER was measured in lymphocytes using the unscheduled DNA synthesis (UDS) assay with slide autoradiography. Contrary to prediction, mean values for NER significantly increased during the higher stress period relative to the lower stress period controlling for background differences in repair. Furthermore, lymphocytes had significantly increased repair of endogenous damage during the higher stress period. Stress appears to directly increase DNA repair. Additionally, stress may increase DNA repair indirectly by increasing damage to DNA.

Disciplines

Medicine and Health Sciences | Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences

Keywords

Psychological stress, academic stress, DNA repair, DNA damage, nucleotide excision repair

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