Faculty Articles


Unique Tissue-specific Level of DNA Nucleotide Excision Repair in Primary Human Mammary Epithelial Cultures

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Experimental Cell Research





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DNA repair is essential for the maintenance of genomic integrity and stability. Nucleotide excision repair (NER) is a major pathway responsible for remediation of damage caused by UV light, bulky adducts, and cross-linking agents. We now show that NER capacity is differentially expressed in human tissues. We established primary cultures of peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs: N = 33) and foreskin fibroblasts (FF: N = 6), as well as adult breast tissue (N = 22) using a unique culture system, and measured their NER capacity using the unscheduled DNA synthesis (UDS) functional assay. Relative to FF, primary cultures of breast cells exhibited only 24.6 ± 2.1% of NER capacity and PBLs only 8.9 ± 1.2%. Cells from the breast therefore have a unique and distinctive DNA repair capacity. The NER capacities of all three cell types had similar coefficients of variation in the range of 10%–15%, which should be taken into account when running controls for this contextual assay. Unlike previous studies and speculation in the field, we found that NER was not affected by cell morphology, donor age, or proliferation as measured by the S phase index. While the NER capacity of the transformed lymphoblastoid cell line TK6 was within the range of our PBL samples, the breast tumor-derived MDA MB-231 cell line was four-fold higher than normal breast tissue. These studies show that analysis of baseline DNA repair in normal human cell types is critical as a basis for evaluation of the effects of “mutator” genes as etiological factors in the development of cancer.


Medical Specialties | Medicine and Health Sciences | Osteopathic Medicine and Osteopathy

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