An optimized method for detecting gamma-H2AX in blood cells reveals a significant interindividual variation in the gamma-H2AX response among humans.

Citation:
Ismail, I. H., T. I. Wadhra, and O. Hammarsten, "An optimized method for detecting gamma-H2AX in blood cells reveals a significant interindividual variation in the gamma-H2AX response among humans.", Nucleic Acids Res, vol. 35, no. 5, England, pp. e36, 2007.

Abstract:

Phosphorylation of histone H2AX on serine 139 (gamma-H2AX, gammaH2AX) occurs at sites flanking DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) and can provide a measure of the number of DSBs within a cell. Here we describe a rapid and simple flow-cytometry-based method, optimized to measure gamma-H2AX in non-fixed peripheral blood cells. No DSB induced signal was observed in H2AX-/- cells indicating that our FACS method specifically recognized gamma-H2AX accumulation. The gamma-H2AX assay was capable of detecting DNA damage at levels 100-fold below the detection limit of the alkaline comet assay. The gamma-H2AX signal was quantitative with a linear increase of the gamma-H2AX signal over two orders of magnitude. We found that all nucleated blood cell types examined, including the short-lived neutrophils induce gamma-H2AX in response to DSBs. Interindividual difference in the gamma-H2AX signal in response to ionizing radiation and the DSB-inducing drug calicheamicin was almost 2-fold in blood cells from patients, indicating that the amount of gamma-H2AX produced in response to a given dose of radiation varies significantly in the human population. This simple method could be used to monitor response to radiation or DNA-damaging drugs

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